The “L” Word

2 years ago, when my grandmother passed away, I remember the plane landing and ushering myself and my son off looking forward to getting home and finally taking a breathe. As I was driving through our neighborhood, hard reality slapped me in my face – life goes on. Regardless of what events have occurred, regardless of your mental or emotional state, cars were driving past me as I entered our neighborhood, blissfully ignorant of my life, and their life continued on – moving forward without a second thought. In that moment I so desperately wanted to push Life’s Pause Button. I wanted the world around me to slow the F down and I wanted life to pause just for a second. I needed to breathe, to process, to grieve. And when life is zooming past you at what seems like the speed of sound, it’s overwhelming. It’s sad. It’s disconcerting. So in the peace of my home I figured out how to take a breath and grieve, while also getting back in the game of life. It was survival – I had to do it even if I didn’t want to. Because life can be brutal. It can be beautiful and joyous, but sometimes it can be a butthead. I share this with you because once again I wish I could press Life’s Pause Button.

I’ve been wanting to write this post and be authenticate and honest with ya’ll.  After all,  my poop stinks too, I have marital challenges at times, I have child-rearing challenges at times, and I fall apart like a crazy person sometimes. Because I am not perfect regardless of what this blog may say otherwise. So today I am sharing with you some raw honesty. And although its not on par with losing a loved one, its been a life-rocker none the less.

The “L” Word

At the beginning of this month I got a call and was told by the VP of my business that due to cost saving measures my position was being eliminated.

Ya’ll I was laid off.

And at first I was like this….

Then I was like this because I was home sick. Can anyone say bad timing?

And then I was like this….

But then I remembered there is this sweet precious boy…


So I did this.


And then I took my planned trip to Florida and took a week off. Because when your world comes crashing down, you run to your parents like any other almost-thirty-year-old with a mortgage. Just kidding. Kinda.


They say losing a job is like losing a loved one. At least the steps of grief are. First you’re in denial, then angry, then you barter, then you’re bitter, then you finally accept. Or something like that. I think right now I am at the YOLO stage. Can we add that in there? I have come to a healthy place where I am not so stressed and looking forward to some time. Just some gosh darn time.  And in case you are curious as how I did it, or you find yourself in a similar position, here’s what I did.

  1. Take some time. I Googled “just got laid off” and every search came back with some form or another of “take some time off”. And although I am a planner and an action person, I could see the benefit with this. Even with being almost 5 months pregnant. I needed to get my bearings. And process what just happened. In my case I got a severance package and my official termination date was a week later so I had a little breathing room. Don’t make any drastic decisions within those first couple of days when you are reeling from what you have just been told. Instead cry, eat ice cream, and wallow. Wallowing is healthy, promise.
  2. Know your People. This is one thing that really surprised me. When I went to pack up my office, I had people reaching out and rallying with me. I had my people. Hug them. Cry with them. Confide in them. Through this whole process I have recognized who my true friends are – the people who are willingly inconveniencing themselves to help me. Those people who want to help me. Take their help and lean on their support. Connect with them and keep in touch with them. Two of my friends either connected me to a job or recommended me for a job. You never know who knows who. And then, feel all the love. I know I do.
  3. Severance Package, Outplacement resources, HR, oh my. If you got a severance package you are going to have to be proactive to figure it out. My (previous) company’s HR was no help in that regard. They basically handed me a packet and told me to call the numbers provided. Not very helpful. Get a direct HR contact at the company in case you need to follow up or have questions later. And be prepared to make lots of phone calls and figure this out.
  4. Financial Assessment. Like anyone, I was worried about our finances. Going from x amount a month to $0 a month is shocking. and stressful. And you will feel all the feels. But in my opinion this is the time to get serious about your budget and spending and figure out what things can go immediately and what other things you will need to work on to cut costs. This doesn’t need to be really detailed yet, but you should have a general idea of what you can cut. For example, for us it was cutting Diapers pre-school attendance from full time to 3 days a week. This is a savings of $40 per week which is $160 a month. It may not seem like a lot now, but that could be gas, groceries for a week or two, or even pay off a credit card. Also, groceries is another area where I am back to couponing, swagbucking, and using all of my rebate apps. I could write a whole post on just this, so if you want some more details on this let me know and I’d be happy to share my method and experience.
  5. Resume. Now is the time to network and get a kick-ass resume put together. Hopefully after 1-4 you have had some time to do some soul searching and figure out what you want to do. Maybe a career change makes sense. Maybe you want to follow your passion. Maybe you want to stay home with your kiddos. Whatever is resonating with you, figure out how to pull out key competencies and results from previous roles to highlight what you can bring to another company. For me, I am looking for an industry change. And nautrally this means limited experience, but only limited industry experience. I still have great work experience and have high impact business results that I can speak to.
  6. Network. I finally broke down and have a LinkedIn profile. And I am networking. It really is powerful and any and all resources you get makes it even more powerful. Consider local job fairs, friends, college alumi, recruiters, head hunters, etc. Step outside your comfort zone a little and find some routine to mange these and get into a routine where you are putting yourself and your talents out there. I have found LinkedIn to be very good and I am also using to check out companies, jobs, salaries, benefits and other info.
  7. Unemployment. Chances are if you’ve been laid off, you will qualify for state unemployment. Since this is a program our taxes help support, you have been paying into this program, so now is your chance to take full advantage of it. It won’t be a lot, as most states have a weekly cap regardless of your previous income level, but its still something. My state requires job searches and attending an orientation. It is annoying for me to manage all of this, but I also recognize its a small sacrifice of  my time to get some income into my household immediately. And its of course another way to network by attending the events your state hosts for job searches. In line with this, also consider other government programs such as WIC, SNAP (food stamps), Child care assistance, etc. Again, we contribute to these with our taxes so don’t be ashamed to reach out and see if you qualify.
  8. Job Searches and Applying. I was given the advice of spending a good 25 hours per week searching and applying jobs. Anymore than that and you will get burned out and frustrated. This can be 3, 8 hour days or 5, 5 hour days. Structure it with what works for you but be prepared to invest some time and energy. Job titles are not a one size fits all and in my experience, I always have to tweak a resume some before applying.
  9. Get Creative. This applies to everything from your new found time, to your finances, to your resume and job searching. Be unconventional. Think outside the box. Put some spice and personality into your resume to set you apart. Think of unique childcare options, or creative ways to significantly lower your budget whether its with student loans, car payments, or credit card payments. There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Now is the time to figure out what is going to work best for you. And nothing says you can’t do something (unless its illegal of course) so step outside your comfort zone and have fun with this part! A great example I can share is with our finances. I have a lot of student loans. Our monthly student loan payment is on the order of an apartment rent amount. Its a lot, and its choking our budget. So we tossed around ideas like using my severance to pay off the higher interest ones, restructuring our payments, and looking into other income based repayment options, but none of them were ideal because interest is still accrued. Our best option is to pay them off. And we found a way to do that which results in us freeing up about $600 a month in our budget. And that is significant. For personal reasons/security,  I haven’t shared the details, but if you are curious or want to know some more specifics just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to share!
  10. Quality and Quantity Time. As a (previously) working mom, my time with Diapers was limited to an hour or so in the morning, a few hours in the evening, and the weekends. Although the days are short, the months seem long so I am taking this opportunity to invest more into my son. We are going to the library, feeding the ducks our old stale bread. Watching movies. Cuddling. Building forts, playing with side walk chalk and even redoing my flower bed (read: weeding, raking, pruning, and replanting). I’m also doing some DIY projects for Baby Boy’s room (maybe good fodder for a blog post!). I am occupying my time and mind with activities that are filling me up to lighten the stress and burden of constant job searching. Its important to take care of yourself. So don’t forget your hobbies! Invest in yourself too – I remind myself of this daily.
  11. Remember Life Goes On. At the beginning of this rather lengthy post, I said I wanted to push the Pause Button. And some days I still do. But life goes on. Dishes need to get done, kids need to be fed, laundry needs to be done, and for me the key is a new routine. I’m still not in one yet, but what I am doing is NOT hermitting myself in the house. I am an introvert and I would be perfectly content staying home applying to job after job. But I have friends calling, texting, making plans. I have good people ya’ll. I am loved. My phone is constantly blowing up – and I really like that. I have friends who want to keep in touch and its been a kind reminder to me that life does in fact, still go on and move ahead. So this past weekend Diapers went to a birthday party (ask how I did this on a budget!), last Wednesday I went out to lunch with a friend. Then on Friday another friend came over and spent her lunch hour at my house catching up. And on Sunday another friend stopped by to catch up and help with my DIY projects. Life goes on, and I have found that if I step outside my introverted tendencies, I am enjoying this time. I am still working on a good routine and a mangeable balance, but it feels good to live and not be stuck on pause.

This post is long enough so I will end this here. If you’ve managed to make it this far then thanks and go eat a cookie because you totally deserve it. Actually eat 5.

  1. Have you ever been laid off from a job?
  2. Do you wish there was a Life Pause Button like me?
  3. How was your weekend?
  4. Any good DIY-ers out there?






2 Words

Ya’ll I have two words for you…






How have I not gotten on this bandwagon sooner?!! To be honest I’m a bit disappointed in myself and disgusted at the thought of so many Walmart, Target, and Sam’s trips I have wasted my energy on when I could have simply clicked a button and had it delivered And I feel like I have done a huge disservice to my readership (hangs head in shame).





All I can say is yes to the heck. I am SO on board. And this is going to be revolutionary. Never again will I sit on the toilet with no toilet paper. Never again will I take a diaper out of my emergency car stash because we ran out of Pull Ups. Never again will I use dish soap to wash my hands because we are out of hand soap. And laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwasher soap, dog food, snacks – all of it at my.front.door.


And as if this couldn’t get any better it’s cheap!! $99 per YEAR! That’s right an entire 12 months for less than a hundred bucks. That works out to be $8.25 a month. AND the deal gets sweeter – FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING! That’s right! I can sit on the toilet, toilet paperless mind you, order toilet paper on my phone and be rest assured that it will arrive in TWO days. Free of charge. Now that’s what I call service.


And it doesn’t just end there! All the snacks ya’ll. All of them – seriously. With a 3 year old  I keep Preppridge Farm in business with the rate we consume Goldfish. Same applies to fruit snacks, pretzels, KIND bars, cereal bars, and trail mix. I’ll just add those in my cart too.


Oh and ya’ll all the wipes. I know I have a potty trained kiddo, but moist flushable wipes help him get the job done – if you catch my drift. So I’ll toss those in the cart too. And why the heck not, I’ll get some regular baby wipes because those suckers are so damn convienent. At a penny or two apiece I use those like they are going out of style. Diapers has a snotty nose – use a wipe. I have a mysterious sticky substance on my arm – use a wipe. Diapers as God-knows-what on his hands – clean them with a wipe! So while I’m at it, I’ll take a case of wipes too.

Seriously my list could go on, and that could be dangerous, but Amazon has figured it out for mothers everywhere. Easy, cheap, and they take all the hassle out of shopping. No lines, no carts, no cranky toddler asking for every freaking unhealthy snack on the shelf, and most importantly I’m gaining some of my sanity back.


Amazon, you’re where it’s at. So from this crazy-busy-working-mom, thanks for this service. You’ve got my business.



Fine print that’s in regular font size: Amazon didn’t tell me to write all these nice things. These are all my thoughts and opinions.


Now tell me who has Amzon Prime? So you love it? Any suggestions?

Having the Conversation

Do you remember when I posted this and number 5 was Have the Conversation? Well, I’m happy to report that I took my own advice.

This week has been emotionally draining. Our quarterly business review meeting was all day Wednesday and it left me feeling like months and months of work wasn’t validated, and if anything, all the hard work was diminished and I was left feeling like I wasn’t given the uninterrupted time to report on my projects.

I felt disrespected and frustrated. And honestly, I felt stuck. I was in a room of 12 men and 3 other women. 3 women had reports to give including me, and all 3 of us were treated VERY differently than our male counter parts. We were interrupted numerous times, men would interject with questions regarding next steps without fully listening and waiting for us to suggest them, and many times our thunder, our moment to shine, was stolen as a male coworker interrupted to disclose the success of a project.

The challenging part for me was that the room of men included everyone from our VP down to my peers. It was a mixed audience and it’s hard for me to balance the right level of professionalism, while also sticking up for myself. If it were a room full of my peers, I would have been very comfortable asking them to wait and share their thoughts after I was done, but when it’s the leadership team of the business interrupting and asking questions on numbers, successes, next steps, etc. before I can get there, my frustration soars, and I shut down out of fear of snapping and appearing as an emotional and unprofessional female. It’s a tough balancing act. And it’s a tough situation.

I work in a technology field that is male dominated. I will be up against this my whole career. And because of that, I need to speak up and share with the men on the team how their actions are perceived. Because that’s what it’s about. I do think these men have good intentions, but they don’t see how their interruptions and comments are perceived as disrespectful and stealing the limelight of the women who have worked tirelessly on projects that have taken months or years.

So, I sat down with my direct manager and gave him feedback. I told him the time and attention was unbalanced. It was favored towards the part of the business where there is a male leader. I asked him to help me with getting my appropriate amount of time to report on projects as well. I also told him that after speaking with him for over an hour the day before, my projects still weren’t captured accurately and I would like to discuss my projects. The other person on our team, a man, always reports on his projects, but this opportunity is not extended to me. I also told him that in order to ensure my projects are updated accurately, I will update them and take this off of his plate. I made it a point to illustrate to him that he requests project updates on 3 different documents. Then he takes those 3 documents and restructures them into 3 additional documents for the meeting. This is neither efficient nor are projects being captured accurately. My manager, always being good at taking feedback, was very welcome to me taking that off of his plate and he even recognized that he’s not very efficient with capturing projects and was more than happy to let me lend a hand. I shared a couple of other examples and our conversation ended.

I know my work isn’t done though. I know that I am going to have to hold my manager accountable to see these things through. I know I am going to have to speak up in meetings and fight for my allocated time, and I know I am going to have to work harder to be heard. And although I can go on to say how unfair it is that women have to work harder in this capacity, I’m going to focus on the positive – by speaking up and asking my male colleagues to wait until I am done, I will make their actions and behaviors obvious to them and hopefully enact change. I know it won’t be easy, I know it won’t be quick, but I am a valuable member to the team and they need to sit back listen and give the women on the team their time as well.

So you may be wondering how you start this conversation. Well, here is my advice:

Have a monkey, bring a banana. In other words, if you go to your manager with a problem (a monkey) come with a possible solution or two (a banana). This will naturally steer the conversation away from you bithcing, and towards resolution. It’s a positive way to discuss problems, challenges, conflicts, etc. Not sure what solution you can offer? Tell that to your boss too, and let him/her know you’d like to brainstorm some with their help.

Go into the conversation prepared to give feedback AND receive feedback. No one is perfect. No one. Not even you. Sure your boss may have royally dropped the ball so give him that feedback. But also be willing to receive feedback. When I am really frustrated I get VERY quiet in meetings. Feedback I got from a male colleague was he sees this and wants me to say something. Men are not body language readers, they are direct, so his point was direct conversation resonates with men.  Structuring a conversation around feedback gives a tone of improvement, changes for the better, etc. instead of complaining and griping.

Be next to your boss, not in front of him. What I mean here is ingratiate yourself. I don’t mean kiss his ass, or suck up. Instead, figure out how you can help him too. You’re going to your boss for help, now figure out what you can do for him too. After all, you are both a part of the team. A team that must drive results so if you know you can take something off of your manager’s plate that would help him and you – well that’s a win-win. One key point to note though is don’t take everything off your manager’s plate. Don’t overload yourself. Be careful and go into the meeting with an idea of what you can do to help your boss. I knew the project updates were not efficient at all and it really bothered me that after spending so much time discussing them with my boss, he still screwed them up. So this was an easy place for me to offer some help, and for future meetings it ensures my project updates are accurate.

Be Prepared. If you need to jot down a few notes do so. If you need to collect your thoughts, and take a pause during the conversation do so. Go into the conversation with clear and specific examples. This to me is critical. Men are direct creatures; they don’t pick up on subtlety and clear examples again lets your boss know you have given this some thought, there is “evidence” so to speak to your point, and there are clear tangibles your boss can work on to improve. Being prepared will show your boss that you respect his time, and you really gave the situation some thought. You aren’t flying off of emotions, or being unreasonable. I’d say for women this is especially important for us to do. We can be level headed, professional, and respectful so we need to convey this in everything we do. We are not purely driven off of our hormones and our cycles.

Hold your manager accountable for helping you and applying the feedback you shared. I asked that my manager ensure projects for my team are rolled up through me as I am the lead; he agreed. Now I am going to hold him accountable to do this. If that means I have to recommend edits to the agenda for meetings so I get my allocated time, I’m going to do so. If that means I need to follow up with my manager and address additional examples of the same behavior, I will do so.  This is about being diligent and respectful and showing your boss that you’re serious and need his help to drive change.

Get over it. Women can dwell up one side of the Great Wall of China and down the next. I know because I do. I think about it, over analyze it, and then think about it some more. My best advice is to have the conversation, and let it go. I can guarantee you that your male coworkers have. Let the frustration go, the annoyance, the bitterness – whatever you may be feeling and focus on accountability and driving change with your manager’s help. If all else fails, there’s always wine at the end of the day.

  1. Have you experienced yourself, or other women being overshadowed in group meetings?
  2. How do you go about having a “tough conversation” with your manager?

Food. All the food.

My days revolve around food.

I really like food.

Like, a lot.

So it’s no surprise to me when I start training for a race my love of food increases. While training, I really focus on good calories to fuel and nourish my body. I still indulge in my wine and my sweets, but I try to be conscience about my snack choices and my portions.

During this training cycle I haven’t lost any weight. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, and when my legs get nicely defined again, as they do every training cycle, I know the number on the scale isn’t accurate. And like most training cycles after a few weeks in, my body starts to crave healthy and fresh food. Read: Give.Me.All.The.Vegtables.Now. Intuitive eating has always fascinated me, and during training I like to keep to my Paleo-ish meals and intuitively eat. If my body wants all the vegetables, then it will get it. If my body wants milk, then milk I drink (I especially crave milk and carbs/sugar after hard or long runs so cue in my Ovaltine).

That’s all well in good. Where the challenge lies is this: I work 8-9 hours a day and wake up at the butt crack of dawn, so by 4 pm I am le tired and need simple and quick meals. Couple that with a 3.5 year old who loves macaroni and cheese, pizza, and cereal, and FirefighterDad, who will deny this, is a picky eater (love you honey!). And to be fair, he may not be craving salads and eggs, and all the food like I am.

So how do I get around this? 1.) Meal prep on weekends, and cook more elaborate meals on weekends. 2.) Leftovers. Plan for leftovers. Always. 3.) Simple, easy, fresh ingredients.

Here are some meals I have made in the past several weeks. Enjoy!

Carrot Pasta with a Sausage Tomato Sauce

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Pasta kills my stomach so enter carrot pasta. I actually prefer carrot pasta over zoodles (zucchini noodles) and I love this dish! The sweetness of the carrots really compliments the sausage.

Spinach Quinoa with a Fried Egg…or two.

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Sautéed spinach and onion then tossed it into cooked quinoa (I use plain quinoa, rinse it well and cook on stove top). Couple fried eggs and sliced fresh tomato and avocado. This was fantastic!

Meatballs and a Spinach Apple Peach salad

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Homemade meatballs (sautéed onion and spinach mixed in seasoned ground beef) from the freezer that I heated up and a simple salad. During this time I was craving peaches like crazy!

Egg Topped Burger with Sautéed Asparagus

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This was a very quick meal. Prepped hamburger patties and cooked them up, then fried an egg. Side note, I have no idea why I never tried this before! It just seemed so off-putting to me to put an egg on a burger, but oh so so good! Fresh spinach, tomato and avocado completed the ensemble. Asparagus was sauteed in butter with pepper and garlic salt.


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Three scrambled eggs topped with fresh tomato and avocado and 2 Earth’s Best “Cookie Monster” Blueberry Waffles (Diapers loves these waffles!) topped with maple syrup and fresh strawberries.

Adult Grilled Cheese

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I had some cooked and shredded chicken in the freezer so I thawed some, tossed it onto a grilled cheese along with some spinach and half a peach. Not all of the peach made it into the picture. This was a simple and quick lunch after a long run!

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Mango Salsa

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Shrimp tacos always turned me off because who wants to put cheese, sour cream, and salsa on shrimp? Not me. But, I then got the ingenious idea to create my own salsa, and ya’ll this was EPIC. I fired the shrimp (bought pre-cooked and peeled) up with a honey red pepper sauce and the salsa was 2 mangoes, some red onion, red pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. When I bit into my taco it was a flavor explosion in my mouth! Seriously, my taste buds were having a party and dancing like it was 1999. Make these. Now. It won’t disappoint.

So this was a random post about food and how much I like it and I just wanted to share. So here ya go!

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. What is your favorite food to cook with?
  3. If you run, or work out, what post-workout foods do you like? This is so hard for me, because I’m usually hungry after a run, but NOTHING sounds good, so I could use some inspiration.

Working Mom Discrimination

I started this blog so that tough topics can be discussed and maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to help out other young women and share some insight, advice, wisdom, or just some hard honest truth. And to be honest, this terrifies me a little because in order to do so, I feel like I need to be honest. Well, more honest. I need to let you into a part of my life that still stings a bit. So I’ve been beating around the old blog bush (don’t giggle, this isn’t a dirty reference) and I’ve been sticking to safe topics like my running, some parenting stuff, a menu post, and general updates. But that’s going to change now.

I was discriminated against by my place of employment after I became a mother.

I read this fantastic article by (fantastic blog by the way! I highly recommend!) and it sparked by own sense of injustice because I am all too familiar with it. I lived through it. And ya’ll it sucked.

Here’s what happened in a nutshell:

I got pregnant, spent 28 days on hospital bed rest trying to stay pregnant, delivered Diapers at 33 weeks 5 days then he spent 12 days in the NICU. Diapers came home for 9 days and he was readmitted to the NICU for 4 days. During my hospital bed rest I filed all necessary paper work for short term disability, stayed in close contact with my manager, my manager’s manager, and HR. I dotted I’s and crossed t’s then pushed out a baby. When Diapers came home for good, I was up front and honest and told my manager I was going to take 8 weeks of maternity leave. This meant in total I took 12 weeks. I used vacation time, and sick time/pay. Then I was on short term disability. The week before July 4th, I returned to work. This was after a one day training I had to attend in mid-June. About 3 months into returning to work I had a mysterious meeting on my calendar – it simply listed the attendees: me, my manager, and HR. I was puzzled, but honestly I knew what was coming. The company I worked for was quite frankly terrible. It had a terrible culture, didn’t embrace boldness or creativity, and my manager was ineffective at best. I know this all sounds very harsh and maybe it is, but the bottom line is, I did my job, did it well, met all of my manager’s requests, and was a team player. I tried to go above and beyond and was shot down numerous times, so I stopped. I did my job and then went home.

Proceeding my hospital stay, I had 2 weeks of light work where I was in the office 3x a week and worked from home 2x a week. During this time, my workload at the office increased astronomically. I was on my feet for 7.5 hours a day only stopping to eat lunch and squeeze in pee breaks all while trying to manage contractions. When the HR meeting rolled around I had 3 letters ready to go, depending upon how this meeting went. Going into the meeting there was 0, zero, zilch, nada, communication from my manager. She never explained to me what it was about or why it was happening. Nothing, and this behavior was very typically for her. She was also the manager that routinely would tell her direct reports how she hates her job and doesn’t want the responsibility anymore. Classy.

The meeting came and basically I was getting written up for poor work performance. I can’t really say I was surprised, I knew as soon as I got pregnant and told my manger’s manager (I didn’t even trust my manager to tell her!! I knew there would be retribution! Red flag #1) that something like this was going to happen. I sat, I listened, and I kept my mouth shut. When HR asked me to sign the document, which would be placed in my personnel file, I declined. I said I disagreed, I emailed my manger all results I got on a daily basis, and basically I said my peace. I also said something along the lines of my manager wants me to be written up, yet she came empty-handed. No emails, no documentation of any kind to corroborate what she was telling HR. At this point I knew what my decision was going to be so I turned to our HR lady and I told her that she should be ashamed of herself for allowing an employee to get written up without the manager providing documentation. At was in a checkmate of she said versus she said. I then handed in letter #3 – an “I quit effective immediately” letter. And I walked out with my head high. I floored them. Neither one of them expected it, my manger smirked (Yep, she smirked. Whether it was relief, of vindication, or just her being her I’ll never know), and the HR lady tried to convince me otherwise saying it wasn’t necessary. But it was necessary because I knew I wasn’t going to work for a company or a manger like that. I went to the Mother’s Room to pack up my pump and then my desk to back up my belongings and that’s when my manger’s manger stopped by. He just got word that I quit on the spot. He said he was sorry (really?! this surprised me). I told him not to be sorry; this was a decision 2 years in the making (I had been working there for about 2.5 years) and I explained to him that I choose not to work for a company that doesn’t value their employees or a manger such as the one I had. With that, I handed him my employee card and drove home.

Immediately after I turned in my letter, while packing up my stuff in the Mother’s Room, I called my husband and told him what happened and what decision I made. He supported me 100% (he’s the best). Then I vented, the anger was seething and I needed to let it out. Then somewhere along the way my anger turned to tears. I felt the injustice of the whole situation. The injustice of (almost) getting written up, the injustice of feeling like I had no other way out except to quit, and underneath all the anger and the injustice I was feeling, my mommy’s heart was aching because there was an injustice to me as a mom and to my son. I did everything in my power to bring as healthy a baby into the world as I could. Granted it wasn’t ideal, but he was never a poker chip in a game. He was never something I would gamble on. And then to be determined that I was under performing was a sharp dagger to my very soul. It hurt ya’ll. And it hurt a lot. To this day I made the best decision – I quit on my terms and I have never ever regretted that. But to be a victim of work place discrimination because I am mother, well it hurts and it seems downright unfair.

And the work my manager claimed I never did?

I did it and emailed her the results the same day.

I don’t have any words of wisdom here honestly. I know I said I wanted to help and give insight, etc., etc., but I couldn’t fight this situation, because I had no proof to do so. And after reading the ProudWorkingMom blog post, it appears that most women faced with this are all in the same boat.

I suppose what I can offer are a few things:

  1. Stand up for you and your work. No one will ever sing your praises like you can. I’m not about bragging, but I am all about representing your work fairly and that means being proud of your accomplishments and sharing what you have achieved with your boss.
  2. If you find yourself in a work environment where you are under appreciated, consider other options. I know this may not be feasible for everyone, but please give it some thought. If you need to prepare then start preparing. You deserve a company that values you, your work, and your contributions. Never forget this.
  3. If you are a victim of workplace discrimination and you can prove it, then I urge you to fight it. I have never been in this position, but I know I would fight it. I would fight it for me, other women, other mothers, my nieces, and other young girls who our shaping our future.
  4. Listen to your moral compass. I knew what was happening to me was wrong – I could feel it in my gut. Knowing a company was okay with this practice, didn’t mesh up with my values, and this is a non-negotiable for me.
  5. Family first. I was amazed how quickly and drastically my priorities changed when Diapers was born. All of a sudden my career didn’t seem so important. I’m not saying it wasn’t, it was just clear that Diapers was Priority #1 and my career had a higher number for the first time in my life. With this came an untapped reserve of balls. I quit my job for him, I applied to other jobs for him, and ultimately I moved across the country for him. Doing something for Diapers didn’t seem so daunting or terrifying – it just seemed right. Natural.

Have you ever left a job because it didn’t adhere to your moral compass?

What’s the best job you’ve ever had?

Business Travel

My current role involves customer interaction and therefore traveling. Currently, I travel about 10% of the time; some months its more and other months I don’t travel at all. A part of me would like to travel a little bit more because of the value it brings to my job, but I also recognize that traveling isn’t just hard on me, it has an impact on my family.

So here are my “rules” that I use when I know I will be traveling for work and how I prepare.

1. Be Positive. When I first had to travel, I was both excited and dreading it. Quickly, the dread took over and the excitement left. Even though I am always a little sad to leave Diapers and FirefighterDad, I recognize that its temporary and I approach it positively. It’s amazing how just our attitude about something can influence our experience.

2. Me Time. I approach all my travels as an opportunity for some “me time”. As a natural introvert I relish this. A bed to myself, yes please! Wine, I don’t mind if I do! Peace and quiet, sign me up! No bath time and bedtime routine for Diapers, no cooking dinner, no dishes, no feeding the dogs…really the list can go on. I need quiet alone time to feel rejuvenated and traveling is great opportunity to fill up my introvert cup!

3. Routine. I enjoy routine. Hell, who am I kidding, I THRIVE off of routine. When I travel, I make it a point to stick to my routine. During the week I wake up anywhere between 4:30-5:30 am depending upon my scheduled run and FirefighterDad’s work schedule. When I travel, I do the same. I stick to my exercise regimen and my routines. It keeps me feeling balanced, and when I return from traveling, home life goes much more smoothly. Also, running is my outlet – my days just don’t quite feel right without it.

4. Peace of Mind. When I travel I know that Diapers is having fun – and a lot of it. He goes to his nanny 5 days a week, so its routine for him (point #3) and I know he’s safe, well cared for, and loved. With my travels overnight and FirefighterDad working overnight, this arrangement works beautifully! Diapers sleeps at Nanny’s house on these nights and he sleeps well. I call Diapers every evening while I’m traveling and I hear of his adventures to parks, feeding birds, feeding fish, playing trains, and overall having a blast. Also, with toddlers, “out of sight out of mind” is SO true. I let Diapers know I’ll be taking a plane to work, and let him know how many “Nigh-Nights” he’ll have at Nanny’s, and he’s good. I don’t dwell, I’m positive (point #1) and everyone is happy.

5. Know Your Limits. 2 nights, 3 days. That’s it. Those are my travel limits. Any more than 2 nights and my mind is not focused on work. Most of my travel falls into this limit – however on occasion I have been gone as much as 4 nights and 5 days. It happens, but for the most part I can keep my travel to within my limit. This also helps out on the home front. Anymore nights then this (cost aside) it really impacts FirefighterDad’s routine and Diapers, so I keep this in mind.

6. Prepare the Home. Speaking of the home front, when I know I’ll travel, I put it on our family dry erase monthly calendar. This helps me plan for it, coordinate my flight times with FirefighterDad’s work schedule, and lets me communicate it to Nanny in advance so she can check her schedule. I typically give FirefighterDad general ideas for dinner, and I line up all of the child care drop-offs and pick-ups and communicate this to FFD and Nanny. Everyone is on the same page, and we’re good to go!

7. Good Food. It’s no lie that while traveling we take customers out and eat some good food and drink some good wine. And it’s ALL expensed! Eating out is my one big vice – I love it. It’s easy, there are ton of options, and there are no dishes afterwards. As a family we don’t eat out often for a number of reasons the main one’s being we try to eat a whole foods diet (no processed foods), it’s costly, and we have a 3 year old who has an attention span of exactly 2.7 seconds. Needless to say, we eat dinner at home a lot, so I look forward to this one small thing when I travel.

8. Career. Traveling is bittersweet, but once I drop off Diapers to Nanny, and I’m on my way to the airport, the hard part is over. I’ve always wanted a career and traveling allows me to grow, learn more, and be able to contribute more to the team – all things I value and leave me feeling fulfilled. Its also a time for me to be just Pantsuits instead of PantsuitsMom, and have intellectual adult conversations about my field of expertise – this is exciting and invigorating for me.

Do you travel for work?

What are somethings you do to prepare for a trip away from your family?

Oh Boy…

This article.  Gosh I just don’t’ even know where to start. This sparked so many reactions when I read it.

First, I recognize that everyone needs to do what is best for them and their families. I get it. I really do. I’m a huge supporter of women (and men) figuring out life obligations with work obligations and making it work for them. However, for women it’s a bit more challenging than that. There are societal expectations, norms, and perceptions. And there are also work expectations, perceptions, and obligations. And often times, these two don’t line up nicely – it takes work. A constant effort and conviction.

So, when I read that Marissa Meyer, Yahoo CEO was planning on delivering twins, and then stepping back into the office 2 weeks later, I was pissed. Then I was sad. Then I was bitter.

A women CEO of a leading internet sensation and a fortune-500 company could pave the way to break some of these societal and professional “norms” or expectations. But no. Instead, she has decided it is best for her, her family, and her yet-to-be-born daughters, to bebop back into the office two weeks postpartum with diaper-like maxi pads on and still looking 4 months pregnant. And you know what, so be it. Seriously, it’s her choice to make.

But, I will say that I believe she is doing a HUGE disservice to other working women. As a CEO she could challenge norms and set a precedent for other mothers to take at least 6 weeks of maternity leave, but if I’m being really honest, I’d love to see her take 12 weeks, or her company’s guaranteed PAID leave of up to 16 weeks – that SHE instated as a new Yahoo company policy when she became CEO! But she’s not. She’s facilitating the perception that women aren’t valuable to a company unless they return to work as quickly as possible post-delivery. And she’s saying this to all the other women that work for Yahoo. And that’s bullshit. She’s supporting a  working world and playing into the stereotypes, the rhetoric, and the perceived normal expectations, and this just irritates me.

I’m also sad because two weeks post-partum is a critical time for mother and baby. Mothers typically are still bleeding, wearing maxi pad ice packs and sexy mesh undies, while taking sitz baths to ease the discomfort of their hoo-has. Not to mention sore, cracked, bleeding nipples, engorged breasts, sleeplessness, piled-high laundry, sink full of dishes, and greasy hair. Two weeks postpartum is a critical time to focus on a mother’s health physically, emotionally, and mentally. Statistically speaking, most twins are delivered via C-section. Doctors don’t clear women to return to normal activities such as going to work until 8 weeks post-partum. Marissa is ignoring this advice. She’s putting herself at risk, and in turn, is putting her daughters at risk – IMHO.

Now let’s talk about the babies – that’s right babieS. Marissa will be having two for the price of one. With a 3 year old son, and two newborns, I don’t think Marissa has a freaking clue. I don’t have twins either, but I do recall how challenging the newborn months were with just one baby and two weeks post-partum was not my finest. Couple that with TWO newborns and a toddler. I really believe that Marissa is doing a disservice to her daughters (again IMHO). Those babies need their mother, need to be cuddled, loved, fed, and catered to. I know Marissa will still do all of this even when she goes back to work, but what I think about is when her daughters are 5 or maybe 6 years old and ask mommy: “when did you go back to work after we were born?” She can either lie (which I doubt she’ll do), or she can tell the truth and tell them that she popped them out and 2 weeks later stepped into the office. Really?! I would be embarrassed to tell any of my children this. What message does this convey to her daughters?! One message can be, “I value my work and it’s more important than being home with you girls and resting and getting into a new mothering role”. Or it can convey, “as a woman I had to be back in the office quickly. So take notes from me girls, and do as I did”.

And here in lies my bitterness. Marissa is choosing to perpetuate the unrealistic “norms” placed onto mothers with her very own daughters whether she knows it or not! WTF?! Seriously?! Women can still do a damn fine job at work even with taking 6, 8, 10, 12, or more weeks off after having a baby. And it’s about time companies, CEOs, women, men, and society recognize this and support this. Marissa is not supporting this and neither is her company since all the other executives are supporting her decision. Ugh. I just…I can’t…there are no words here. This is just despicable.

So now that I got this rant off of my chest, I wish Marissa and her family all the best because at the end of the day she’s doing what is best for her and her family and only she knows what she can handle.

I’d love to know – what are your thoughts on this?

Don’t Take Away Our Hope

I recently read an article (I can’t find the link to this article anymore – and I know this is probably really bad blogging etiquette so I’m apologizing now) criticizing a young lady who shared her thoughts on women today having it all. And for once, I disagreed and was upset because the reality was this young lady recently graduated college with a four month old. She was breastfeeding, studying, and handling pregnancy all while going to college. And her message was simple – women can have it all.

Now I understand the author’s point a little – this young lady is naive and just because she graduated college with an infant (which lets be real – had to have been tough) doesn’t mean she knows what the real working world is like. She’s young and impressionable. And you know what, maybe she is. Maybe she still has some youthful innocence – and honestly I hope she does, because I’ll say it again – Life Is Hard. It will chew you up and spit you out. But what really upset me is that this author’s rebuttal took away this young lady’s youthful naivety. She took away her hope. And while I’m on this particular point, I’d say the author took away the hope of all young women who one day want to go to college, start a career, and have a family.

Now I believe in a good dose of reality and honesty. But before we destroy a young lady saying “you don’t have a clue just because you graduated college with an infant” let’s put into context what she did achieve: perhaps her pregnancy was a surprise – she overcame, accepted her new role and embraced it. And if the pregnancy was planned, and a welcomed responsibility, then this young lady is a mutli-tasking queen and knew what she could handle.  She valued herself and her education and recognized this was one thing she could do to be able to provide for her child. She was pregnant during, what I would consider, the most social time of a young person’s life. No parties, no late nights just hanging out. What this young lady had was a good head on her shoulders, a clear idea of what she wanted for herself and her child, and she had her priorities in order.

So I applaud her! What she did was NOT easy. And the fact she navigated college with a young child and clearly had her priorities in order, only further proves my point, that even if real life spits her out a few times, she is intelligent, motivated, and knows her priorities – and that is the single most important part of having it all.

I have no doubt that this young lady will enter the work force and navigate the sometimes bumpy road of a working mother. And she will be yet another positive example of a woman having it all and showing other women that you don’t have to be afraid, you don’t have to limit yourself, and although it isn’t always easy, it is possible and dare I say enjoyable.

So you want Work-Life Balance…

PantSuitsMom’s 5 “Rules” to Achieving a Work-Life Balance

I figured sine I have this blog now and I claim to have it all figured out (cough, cough), I should probably offer you some practical advice. Or at the very least, some advice I have used so far in my career to achieve the balance I have today.

  1. Set Your Priorities

You, and only you, can set your priorities the way you want them. There is no right or wrong here, but it does lay the foundation for achieving a work-life balance.  For me my priorities look something like this:

God – my faith is important to me, but since this can be a touchy subject I‘ll leave this priority here and let its rank of #1 speak for itself.

Self – Yes, I put myself before my family. No, I promise I am not selfish; I am realistic. If I don’t take care of myself, how can I be the best mother and the best wife possible?

Child/Husband/Marriage – FirefighterDad and Diapers will always come before my job – always

Family/Friends – if they are in need, I am here to help. The most important thing in life is your relationships (thanks Dad for teaching this to me at a tinder age!) – remember this m’kay?

Work – finally the good ol’ career.

Are you shocked? Do you need a second do get off of the floor?

Okay, I’ll wait.

Okay, you good?

I know it’s probably surprising for you to see that my last priority is work. But it’s true. And you know what, I am okay with it. This is the way I want my priorities to be. So now you’re probably wondering why this “rule” is so important, or else you think I am a crazy lady who has her head up in the clouds – I’m alright with that.

  1. Your Boss (should) Only Cares About the End Result

Rule 2 is what makes Rule 1 work. If you have a good boss, he/she will only care about how your work directly influences the end result. Are you a valuable and contributing team member? Do you meet deadlines, finish projects, and get your job done? Then great, you have satisfied your boss. Do you see now how Rule 1 is possible?

  1. Be Honest and Positive

Honesty is the best policy. Cliché’ yes, but clichés are built on truth (haha, I just made that up, but it sounds pretty good huh?). Seriously, you must be honest with yourself and remain positive. Life is hard ya’ll. Some days won’t go according to plan, but stay calm, keep positive, and accept the reality you are currently facing. Be easy on yourself, give yourself grace, but be honest.

  1. Time Management

I have Rule 3 because it builds into Rule 4 – time management. Let’s do a little math. Oh stop, don’t roll your eyes, this will be fun!

Susie has 24 hours in her day. If she sleeps for 8 hours and works for 10 hours, how many hours does she have left when she gets home?

6 hours.

Susie has 6 hours left in her day that she needs to fit her work commute, child drop-offs/pick- ups, getting ready for work, getting child ready for the day, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and maybe even a glass of wine into. It goes quickly ya’ll. 6 hours seems like a lot, but it goes by fast.

So having good time management skills is essential to having a work-life balance. If you can’t get your job done in 8-10 hours a day, you need to re-access how you are spending your time. Sound harsh? Well, I am following my own advice and using Rule 3 – I’m being honest.

So I know this topic can get heated – some of you may disagree completely and think I am off my rocker and that’s okay. But the reality is we all have a 24 hour day – if you need to adapt and adjust your schedule so it works best for you, then do it. Referring back to Rule 2, your Boss cares about the end result, not how you got to the end result.

  1. Have the Conversation

If Rule 4 just isn’t working and you know you need to make some changes, then have a conversation with your manager. For example, I am a morning person. I prefer to get to the office at 7:30-7:45 when it’s quite and I can get shit done. But this also means I’m not staying until 6 pm like some of my coworkers who crawl into work at 9 am.  Diapers gets dropped off at 5 pm, so I spoke to my manager, explained to him that I can yield high impact results for the company by coming to work earlier and this accommodates my childcare needs. He agreed and he sees the results; another words, my work speaks for itself. Don’t be afraid to change up your schedule if it isn’t working for you. Feel empowered to take back control and find a routine that makes you happy and works.

Now some questions for you:

What works for you when it comes to work-life balance?

Have you ever had to tweak a routine?