Sunday, August 11, 2019

FUNemployed

I've had a good (almost) two years of full time employment at my latest gig. I had aspirations of staying there, growing in the position and living happily ever after. It's too bad I didn't see that come to fruition.

Despite my best efforts, my employer must have had unattainable aspirations of their own, as the initiatives they had been banking on, didn't cash out. For over six months, they've been struggling with cash flow, borrowing stealing money from employees' 401k contributions, not paying bills, getting our insurance benefits canceled due to lack of payment and more shenanigans. It's been so aggravating. Like a dysfunctional relationship where you tell yourself it's not that bad, I've put up with a plastic banquet table desk, no direct deposit, clocking in/out, shoddy record keeping, skimpy PTO, a long ass commute, sub-par facilities, to name a few - all for longevity and to avoid putting myself out there again.

So, needless to say, when they reduced my hours to practically NIL last month, since their continued cash flow issue, not to mention the unresolved 'borrowing' of my 401k contributions, I was beyond pissed, not to mention panicked. Why, GOD, why? Although, obviously, I was going to start looking for another job anyway (see above complaints), dealing with another job search right now is beyond stressful. UGH ... money, mortgage, bills, food, summer, kids, new car payment... neverending worries.

On the other hand, it's a blessing to be able to spend the extra time with the kids during the summer, no more commute, more exercise and fresh air, time to clean my cottage and get other neglected tasks done. I'm taking good care of myself and the kids, getting solid work done from home, aggressively seeking new employment and have had several interviews, with more to come this week and have had a little travel fun. The paychecks are now puny, unemployment insurance is slightly less, but I'm going to rely on savings and make it stretch. Being frugal and fiscally responsible is helpful as well. I'm getting really good at it.

I have some downtrodden moments, but I'm trying not to panic. I'm fairly certain I will have a new job by the time the school year begins, or shortly after. I just need to focus, stay the course, be professional, articulate and confident. I will be gainfully employed again soon. With full benefits, a 401k that actually increases, a short commute, ability to retrieve my kids after school without hassle and MAYBE even a desk made of real wood. I'll settle for particle board even. One can dream....


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Friendships as a Working Mom

People who know me and work with me, know me to be an outgoing, friendly person. I try to maintain varied friendships, some even from my childhood. However, now that I'm older, with three kids and a full time job, it's not always easy to have friends.

Everyone has their own life and their own set of obstacles - time, money, schedules, kids, activities, etc. It seems like the local suburban moms have their network of friends and their tribes that they readily meet up with it. Sometimes they really grate on my nerves when I show up to my kids' games or practices and they chatter away together endlessly about the mundane.

People also get on my nerves when they like and comment repeatedly on their friends' posts on social media, supporting each other, flattering each other and various forms of humble bragging. Sometimes I feel like a complete outcast in this world of positive, outgoing people. I don't have much basis for these feelings - from basic observations, I could fit in just fine. I'm relatively attractive, fit, funny, functional, articulate, witty... I guess sometimes I feel more introverted and self-conscious than other times in life.

My insecurities, loneliness, isolation, anger, bitterness, self-perceived friendlessness comes from grief and depression likely, as well as fluctuating hormones. Not to mention a general dislike of being alone with myself, clutter and sadness. I feel like an outcast in parent crowds sometimes. When my kids aren't with me, the solitude leaves an ache in me. I try to set up activities with friends, but I'm not always successful. I also have to schedule time for chores exercise, and conserve money and energy for the work week.

I feel I don't have as many friendship options as I did when married. I don't know anyone really in my new condo community. It would be nice if I did. I have a growing network of mom friends who are independent, active and fun - thanks to Bumble BFF and the meet up group I'm a part of. I'm super friendly with the people at work. Also, I have one new mom friend who's been so great being friends with recently. We met via Bumble BFF. We text almost daily and get together regularly. She lends me a good, empathetic listening ear often and I try to reciprocate the favor for her.

However, flakey friends really get on my nerves. I have/had a good mom friend who I used to do things with all the time, but any time she gets a boyfriend, she goes MIA, until they break up, then I hear from her. To not even text or call or set up mini activities with a good friend like that, with or without a boyfriend/husband, to forget your friendship, really pisses me off. Our mutual friend said I shouldn't take it personally, that that is just what she's always done, but it's hard not to take it personally. It feels like another breakup or loss. Also, if you have a boyfriend/husband, you can still plan things with other people as a group. No excuses. So it hurts my feelings and makes me want to distance myself from her and people like her.

At this stage of my life, I feel like I really need supportive and active friends in my life. People who are up for doing fun activities that don't always involve binge drinking. Sports, working out, walks, festivals, board games, whatever. I don't have family here, so friends become my family. I no longer have a pet, so that adds to my loneliness and sadness. I don't feel like I can afford a pet, nor the time to care for it effectively. I never was good at cleaning a litterbox and I don't want my small condo to be overtaken with cat hair, urine and poo smells and a destructive cat with claws. I need to take care of the existing clutter and get a handle on everything else going on.

When the kids are with me, they are my social fuel for the most part, but they're at the age where they don't necessarily need me or want to do activities with me all the time. I try to set things up for us though that meets everyone's needs. But often these days, I still feel sad and lonely in the gap times. I suppose I should just take that time to allow myself to feel whatever emotion it is, acknowledge it and say, "It's okay to feel that way." Having downtime in solitude, to do something creative or productive, gives me space and calm to recover from the chaotic work week and gear up for the week ahead.

I suppose I should take a moment to be grateful for the friends I do have in my life and reach out to them to let them know I appreciate them. Who knows what other people are going through and how much it would mean to have someone reach out to say hi. Social media is an unsatisfying method of maintaining connections. I'd rather have someone text me, call me and set up an activity in real life.

What is your experience with maintaining friendships as an adult? Do you take it personal when friends don't make an intentional effort to keep in contact?

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sunday Evening Pity Party

I am experiencing my typical end-of-the-weekend blues. But today seems more acute than usual. I'm feeling pressure in my head and can hear my heartbeat in my left ear. My mood is very sullen.

I was with my kids this weekend and we were together, which is always nice. Yet, our meaningful personal interactions seem minimal. It seems very 'transactional' and utilitarian. They need food or I need them to do a chore. However, I infused some fun activities into our weekend to break up the amount of time they're on electronics.

We took a walk in the rain, we went to kids' birthday parties, we ate a nice dinner together tonight. But another busy work and school week starts tomorrow and I'll be in hyper-motion again. I know I'm exhausted and I need a good night's sleep. But also I'm pissed at myself for letting another weekend go by without working on taxes. There is money the IRS has with my name on it, I just have to take the time to fill out some form fields. How lame am I?

I hope for a productive, happy week ahead. I hope I can continue eating healthy, exercising regularly and saving money. I hope that I can continue to laugh and find joy in little moments. I had such good laughs last week at work. This weekend I kept feeling lonely and isolated, even though I was around my kids and had social time around nice people.

Daddy-O got a new puppy for him and the kids. It's so adorable. We met it today for the first time. I'm happy for them, but so deeply sad for me. I miss having a pet; a little cuddly creature that gives you unconditional love. I don't want a pet right now because of tight finances, lack of time and already not being able to keep my home tidy. I don't want to scoop a litterbox or be strapped to a dog's bio needs and schedule. I want to save money, live simply and be able to travel occasionally. It's not feasible.

But the old me ... she had two cats, one big dog, three kids, a husband and a huge heart for people. Guess this new me is just a miser. Also, synonymous with LOSER.

I'm just venting. I am having a festive pity party for myself. So at the close of this paragraph, that will conclude my public display of patheticness and I will move on to nurturing myself and being a positive role model for the young people I care for.

Happy Sunday (soon-to-be Monday)!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Mornings at Work

Despite the drag of waking up early and fighting traffic on the freeway, I actually enjoy coming to work on Monday mornings (most mornings in fact). All my co-workers on the sales team are in the office, and we talk at length about our weekends and the latest adventures.

It's highly entertaining for me as I'm about 20 years older than they are (but still fairly immature). I'm Gen X, they are Millennials. They all live with their parents, with the exception of one, who lives with her boyfriend. A lot of people my age don't like working with Millennials for a myriad of reasons. Since they don't work for me directly and we're not technically on the same team, they don't bother me. Plus, they're timely, responsible, intelligent, creative and have a confident, teachable attitude.

We all make each other laugh and share good shows to watch on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu or a great new podcast. We talk at length about Dirty John podcast/Bravo TV show and scary search and rescue stories from Reddit. We talk about friends and family members, drinking stories and other NSFW topics. Today, one of them showed us all a funny prank call video where a guy pretends to be Vietnamese and calls a Chinese business order and relentlessly harasses him. Yeah, it's not P.C., but very funny.



She also told us about the new show we have to watch - "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes". I can't wait to watch the series! That freak worked his psychopathic magic in my hometown when I was a young kid!

I learn some new things from them and I like to think they learn some new, valuable things from me. They teach me how to make the best Snapchat and Instagram Stories and good filters and poses. I teach them how to set up a budget, save money, set up a ROTH IRA and 401k and plan for the future. They teach me all the various ways you can obsess about your eating habits - keto diet, intermittent fasting, Whole 30, calorie restriction, etc. I teach them (with my actions) about eating in moderation with food from home and taking mini breaks in the day to exercise.

They entertain me with their stories of good restaurants and bars they've tried. I entertain them with crazy stories about parenting my kids and my attempts at controlling their digital exposure. They say they would not be happy if their mom was 'invading their privacy' by monitoring their private messages  to boys on Instagram. I say, "I don't care. I will take that phone away from you and spank your bottom for being disrespectful to me. You'll get a flip phone!" It is very funny. When my oldest daughter has an especially unruly, rebellious moment, I share it with them and they laugh and cheer for her. It's funny to get their perspective on teen life, since they aren't too far from that age themselves.

Sometimes they are annoying, mainly when it comes to the obsession with Snapchat and Instagram - how many likes and views. And I'm sure I annoy them at times acting like a know-it-all librarian. I encourage modesty and professionalism. I don't want to hear anything about how high-waisted pants are fashionable. It's B.S. and hideous, not to mention it creates a nasty camel toe. You can't make fun of mom jeans and then try to claim it as fashion. NOPE. Also, your fave bathing suit is missing the ass fabric. I don't care if it's the trend, I'm not wearing a g-string bikini or S & M swimsuit to the beach, pool, lake or river. I'm a size small or 4, but somehow I don't think my ass would look that great covered with just a thread. There is cottage cheese cellulite!

But the good news is - the sales chicks reminded me that a good spray tan makes you look thinner! You better believe I'll be getting a few of those leading up to spring/summer. I just ordered a few bikinis on clearance from Venus.com and I'm praying they fit and are flattering. Even if they're not, I'll capitalize on the spray tan and own my saddlebags. I'm in my 40s and have had three kids, so I know I look pretty good despite. Let's see how the next 20 years treat these Millennials after all the delicious cocktails, gastro pubs and charcuterie boards. ;P

No matter what, I'm really enjoying my new workplace and my co-workers. Mondays typically suck at most jobs. Today was another great day working with funny and nice young women. I'm happy to call them my friends.


    

Sunday, January 20, 2019

New Year, New Me and New(ish) Job



My last time I've written on the See Mom Work Blog was June 2017 - over a year and a half ago.

!!!

I've always aspired to be a writer and blogging seemed a natural fit for me. I have enjoyed keeping a blog and attempting to chronicle my motherhood journey in a quest for work/life balance. A few years ago, something shifted in my psyche and in my life and I burnt out of everything. Maybe it's been a mid-life crisis or depression, who knows, but a culmination of things caused an unexplained implosion. 

Trying to raise three young kids, one of whom was (is) a diabolical pre-teen with ADD/ODD, and another immature, attention-seeking child, led to a chaotic household. I felt out-of-control and unable to cope with it. I tried unsuccessfully to keep the house clean which continually upset me. I tried unsuccessfully to advance in my career, and had two awful, short-term jobs back-to-back. I felt like I needed a mental break and would have preferred to have ONE job for once - to care for the kids and home. I couldn't do it all and have it all. 

I wanted my husband to step up and help me or lighten my load. Let me take a break from working, hire a house cleaner, take us on a vacation or short getaways. I felt trapped and hopeless. I became angry, bitter and resentful. I took it out on him and the kids and wanted to run away. I withdrew, blamed and was convinced things would never change. I felt triggered and experienced similar hopeless feelings from my memories of childhood; growing up poor in a chaotic household with 'feral' children and a single mom who had checked out and neglected us. It felt like my husband was also checking out, constantly on his phone or the computer at home after work, taking the kids camping trips on the weekend without me, not communicating with me or showing me affection, and other perceived slights. I felt invisible.

My hope and dreams of having my career and life aspirations had hit a stand still and I felt sad and frustrated that I couldn't make 'great' things happen. I was (am) very jealous of everyone else who seemed to be living much better lives, making their dreams come true and looking great doing it. It seemed to me I was always going to be struggling with unmet goals and needs. Perhaps my self-defeating thoughts were a major pity party based in lies I tell myself. But I focused my anger on my husband and blamed him. Which didn't have positive consequences - it led to our separation, then divorce. 

I have been working full time again for about a year and a half in a job that I enjoy. I co-parent with 'Daddy-O' pretty well, we are friendly and focused on being good parents and the kids seem mainly well-adjusted and happy. I bought a condo almost a year ago that seems more and more like a home all the time. I'm adjusting to the minimalist lifestyle, following a tight budget, cooking and cleaning more rigorously and being independent and autonomous. But it hasn't solved my loneliness and melancholy. It scares me a lot when I think about being destitute and not able to care for myself and kids. So now I really need to make sure I stay employed, even when my restlessness and irritation kicks in (as it always does). 

So, that is my brief overview of the new changes in my life the past few years. In this new year, I am going to focus on continue my writing 'hobby' to somehow turn it into more of a business. I'm going to work on improving my mood and outlook, seeking professional therapy and other healthy actions. I will read self-help books that deal with my unique issues with my dysfunctional family upbringing and attachment disorders. I will start journaling again. I will get better at meditating regularly. I will spend more time outdoors. I will be more honest, authentic and assertive. I will spend quality time with people who bring me joy. I will take up hobbies/activities that keep my mind and body active. I will drink less alcohol and eat more healthy, home cooked foods.  I will ensure that my kids take me seriously and follow my instructions, doing their part to keep up a tidy, calm home and that we participate in fun activities together that don't involve screen time. (Wishful thinking).

For my new(ish) job, I'm going to continue to give 100%, get experience in that particular industry niche and eventually get promoted to make more, then work towards my next gig. Hopefully a job where I can work remote and have more flexibility. If the economy takes another downturn and I lose my job again, I will have to reassess my career choice. I'm getting older, less edgy, dare I say irrelevant. I need to make sure I stay on top of business trends, best practices and work those career angles. I have over 20 years left in my working life, so I would really love to work in a job/career I enjoy and I feel appreciated and impactful. I have at least five years left in paying after school childcare expenses. But, I can't get too excited because then I'm sure there will be a lot of college expenses to worry about. 

I suppose I'm starting to realize that life is a constant struggle. Comfort and security is never really guaranteed. That social media is a farce and a lie. I will continue to limit my time on Facebook and Instagram for personal use because it aggravates me and tends to stir jealousy and anger in me. That perfectionism is toxic. Life is a circuitous journey. I should give myself and others grace. Gratitude is therapeutic. And all that jazz.

Well, I've successfully published my first blog post of 2019. And it wasn't that difficult at all! I will aim to keep momentum in writing and power through mental blocks against it. It is very therapeutic for me to share my struggles. I would like to delve into writing about my family, my battle against melancholy, seeking recreational activities to offset my demanding work/parenting life and other miscellaneous rants regarding working mom angst. Wish me luck! And THANK YOU for reading! Leave a comment and some encouragement if you're inclined.