What if we all stopped pre-judging and started relating? What if we, as women, mothers and humans took the time to get to know each other, got real about the falsehoods we believe about each other and allowed them to be replaced by the truth?

What if we shared “the” dream, and made it come true?

What if color, background, culture, status, choices and experiences stopped being walls between us?

The world would be a better place.

In honor of MLK day, I encourage you to watch his incredible speech, and allow his words to tear down your own prejudices of all kinds… I am.

I’m doing it through “A Mile in Her Shoes” What will you do?

I have a dream, MLK

I woke up before the alarm this morning.   I snuggled deeper under the covers.  Fridays are my “fun day.”  (Fun, here,  is a relative term. It means I run errands, maybe grab lunch by myself or get a coffee at the bookstore and browse. But, I get out of the house- so it’s fun, to me!) I thought I had a few extra minutes before I had to get up.

That is, I thought it was “fun day,” until the alarm clock, rudely reminded me, that I had to get up. I had to go to work today. Ugh. Before I could hit the alarm button, I also remembered that this was: data entry day. On an excel spreadsheet. that was important.

My stomach felt queasy, before my feet hit the floor. Nerves. I was afraid  the universe would implode if I screwed up. I tried to remember what Kathy, my friend and boss-du jour had told me to do.

I blanked.  “Oh well, she wrote it down, I’ll figure it out when I get there.”

Fortunately, getting ready this morning was much smoother than yesterday.

  1. No one missed the bus.
  2. I didn’t run anything over. (However,  I disappointed Noah, by not taking out any garbage cans.  I assured him, I’d likely hit something, sometime soon.)
  3. I actually had time to fold a load of laundry and do the dishes before I left.
  4. The beagle  peed on demand!

I was running early. An excellent (and rare) start to the day.

The drive to work was un-eventful.If you don’t count seeing a red bra (inexplicably) lying on the ground at my freeway exit. (Someone’s lookin’ like a fool with her bra on the ground, is all I can say about that.)

I actually was *gasp* a few minutes early! (I took a picture of the clock, as evidence for the doubters, I can hear you mocking me.)

It only took me a few minutes to settle in to my data entry job.  Once I got my bearings, looked at the notes Kathy had left for me, and took a deep breath. I started.

You know what?  I did it! It took me a few hours to enter all the data for four different sites, but I did it! (I think I did it, anyway.  I obsessively double checked each entry and saved the file, so it should still be there on Monday.)  I may have set a new record for world’s slowest data entry, but it’s done.

Data entry, surprised me. I actually kind of liked it. (It was infinitely better than dark-room uniform organizing.) I worked downstairs, in the main office. it was nice to hear office chatter.  And I even got a chance to talk to a few people. (Nice since as a SAHM, I can go for days without interacting face to face, with another adult. But I digress, today I’m a working mom!)

However, I was concentrating and trying (not to wreck the database and thus stop the universe) to do my best- so I didn’t take time to chat. (FYI- it’s a very good thing they’ve gently moved me into tasks. Today?  I’m not sure if I could have answered the phone and done the data entry at the same time. I was thankful every time the phone rang, and I didn’t have to answer it!)

I think I may have committed my first office faux pas. They were ordering pizza.. and I passed. Honestly… I felt shy and a bit intimidated, for lunch with the crew. (Weird, I know. But apparently shyness can strike even me.) And, I was hoping to get home in time to pick up Noah at the bus, so I worked straight through.  I hope I get a chance to go back and hang out at lunch, sometime.

Once finished with the data, I did some filing. Where I was reminded, once again that: HANDWRITING MATTERS. Especially on Driver’s Manifests. Hello, if I can’t read your driver number or the date, it’s kind of hard to: FILE IT, BY THAT. (sorry, a little messy handwriting rant.) As an aside: Driver’s Manifest’s are not the subversive documents that could result in governmental or cultural change, that they sound like. They are (basically) driver’s logs. Where they went and when.  They are important. But still. Not revolutionary.

Filing went well, until I dropped a pile of papers. I panicked, slightly, like a second grader who knocks over a chair.   For a moment, I wondered if I broke them. (Umm yeah. I’m keeping it real here… I seriously wondered if I wrecked the pile by dropping it.)

I picked them up and put them back in order. Duh. They are paper. They weren’t broken or wrecked.  It took me a few extra minutes to fix my mistake, but, that was it.

And then. I finished! Early!  I was glad to meet the bus today. I had no idea how hard that time between 4 and quitting time is for working mom’s. I call it the 4:00 pm effect. Worry distracted me. I worried a lot. I worried whether his big brother met him at the bus. (He didn’t, he forgot. Noah walked home just fine. He sometimes does if I don’t make it to the stop.) I worried whether he had a good day at school. I worried whether needed me and I worried if he had a snack. Yeah. A lot. Also-very quickly. I finished work around 4:45, yesterday!

I learned some things that surprised me this week:

  1. If I had to work, I could. (I’ve been a little a lot, afraid that maybe I couldn’t cut it, even if I desperately had to.) This week has not been easy. We’d have to make a lot of changes at home if I worked. But, I did it. And I could. Just like the millions of moms who do it every week. Each one with her unique set of challenges. (I have 3 kids, 3 schedules and a traveling husband.)
  2. I’ve always thought I had a problem with being told what to do. I discovered this week, that it’s more that I hate, not knowing what to do and needing to be told. I’d rather anticipate needs a need and meet it. I could not do that this week. I had no idea what needed to be done. I needed direction. It was uncomfortable.  But over time, I think that would improve as I caught on. (And didn’t have to be led around like a trained pony.)
  3. I appreciate more and understand better, how my husband feels about work. (It didn’t cross my mind that this experiment would lead here.) Even doing things as simple and benign as I did this week, it’s hard to “turn it off” at quitting time.  (Something I get mad at him for all the time.) Also: if I worked outside the home, and he continued to travel as he does (He’s gone about 3-5 days a week and is usually in a different time zone.) it would be hard to talk on the phone, let alone see each other. I missed him. (If my tubes weren’t tied, I’d say it would, however, save us a fortune in birth control… but that’s TMI, Funny, but still: TMI.)
  4. My house is still standing, even though I went to work.  True, I didn’t do everything. But I got done what needed to get done. Working helped me prioritize my tasks.
  5. I could see both pluses and minuses for my kids if I worked.  They would need to be more independent. I believe they would rise to the occasion, as they did (for the most part) this week.
  6. A few posts back- I used the word “day dreaming” about what working would be like. I realized this week, that more than day-dreaming, I’ve  been missing things from when I used to work. (Before kids.) Maybe I’ve romanticized the memory a bit, but it’s there, and some part of me, misses it.
  7. Bonus Round: If you work straight through, without stopping for a potty break and text and drive on the way home, you could have an accident (of the soggy type) if a police car speeds up behind you with it’s lights flashing.  You might also throw your very expensive iPhone in the backseat to try and hide the fact that you were texting. You will be very relieved if they drive right past you once you’ve pulled over.

The drive home was slightly more dramatic than the drive in. oopsy.

Now- I have some questions for you! There is no way, I can really understand what it’s like for you, by working for a few days.  You’d really help me, and mom’s everywhere- if you’d answer!

please: email, comment, facebook message, or tweet me to tell me your answers!

Working moms:

1) Does the schedule thing smooth out at all once you’ve established a routine?  (Well, as routine as life ever gets with kids.) I had a hard time this week, and I’m wondering if it would get (somewhat) easier as you (and your people, big and small) adjust.

2) Tell me what you enjoy about working! I like the: interaction, challenge and the occasional pat on the back. If I were being paid, I’d have liked that, too.

3) Tell me what you hate about working! (I hated : not being there when my kids got home, being on someone else’s time schedule and working in a dark closet sorting uniforms…)

4) One of the things I think would help our mothering community is if respected each other more. I think we’d do that, if we understood each other’s sacrifices.

5) What sacrifices do you make as a working mom, and why? (for example-I sacrificed: time to myself, time to write, energy, time with my kids/my husband, some order in my house, being there for the bus stop :(and vulnerability- i’ve been pretty honest here, that’s a risk- risk is a sacrifice.)

Why?  Right now? For this project. Because I believe that we are better together.  I believe that by understanding and connecting with mom’s who are different from me, (and similar) my perspective changes and I learn.  You can make me a better mother, and I just might help you, too.

Working Mom Myths are just some of the Mommy Myths I want to bust!

If I were to continue working, I’d do so to provide my family with things that they need, (hello- next year, I’ll have 2 in college, ca-ching! This is a pertinent conversation, for us! ) Or to fulfill a calling that God has on my life. (The truth is, as I’m writing and speaking more and more, I’m am becoming less SAHM and more Work From Home Mom.)

Now- it’s your turn–working moms of the world…

TELL ME what you want me to understand!

One rule-  My blog is a place for all mom’s. I won’t allow a war to break out and mommy-bashing to begin. This rule holds for the duration… just sayin. The goal is to understand, not to argue who’s right or wrong.  Or, what’s harder or easier. Those arguments divide us. They weaken (I posit they could destroy) the mothering community.

In 20 years of mothering, and working with hundreds of moms through MOPS International- I can assure you of this: Being a mom (of any kind) is hard.  We each have a unique set of challenges, different, but equally difficult. And we cannot mother alone. We need each other.


When the high schooler missed his bus, I thought:  “I have it under control.” That was the last time I thought that, today.

I asked the college boy to drive him to school before he left for his 8:30 class.  When High Schooler then, couldn’t find his house-key, I gave him mine. Thinking:  “He’ll be home before me, anyway.” I jumped in the shower, dressed and considered snorting a packet of Starbucks Via, before work.  I refrained, just incase I had to pass a drug test.

The youngest was less than cooperative, this morning. Of course. Between coaxing him to eat and a last-minute lunch change to bringing lunch  (ugh.)  and trying to get my hair dry, I must have lost track of time. I grabbed my keys  had Noah zip his coat in the car and tried to catch the bus.  I thoroughly impressed Noah by knocking over all 4 garbage cans at once as I pulled out of the driveway. (FYI you don’t save time by not clearing the rear window. Picking up garbage: wastes time. )

We didn’t make it.

“I don’t have time for this.” I thought. I decided to save time by not heading home for my purse or phone before taking him to school.  All was fine until I got home and (after picking up the garbage from the street while skating on ice in heels) remembered I’d given my high school son my house key. Epic fail. Locked out.  Garage door opener is acting weird and the keypad won’t work unless it’s above freezing.

It was not above freezing.

I felt defeated.  The wind I’d had in my sails (or maybe it was the coffee I’d sucked down in a rush) whooooshed out in a huff, as tears welled up in my eyes. (Bad mixed metaphor I’m too tired to fix- sorry:P) I was not finished getting ready and the dogs needed to go out before I left for the day.

I didn’t have my purse,  my cell phone or my house key.  My husband is out-of-state.

I could:

1) Break in

2) Break down

To be honest, breaking down was sounding pretty good. As a SAHM, part of me has always been afraid, that even if I absolutely had to work… I couldn’t cut it.  Here I was failing, on Day 2.

“Get a grip. Don’t panic! You can do this!” I told myself, really hoping the neighbors didn’t hear. (Unless they had a key. Which, they don’t.)   I walked around back, to check the patio door. To see if it was locked.  Just in case.

It wasn’t. Typically, I’d have been furious that the house was left un-locked.  Today, I was thankful.

I pushed past the barking like crazy dogs, and finished getting ready.  The clock kept ticking.

9:07 “I should make it if I leave now.”  I thought.

Then, remembered the dogs would need to go out before I left. “Ugh.”

I stood there, tapping my foot like the pee-pee nazi and the beagle refused to go.

Tick toc. 9:08 Getting late!

Explaining that I was late on my second day of work because: “I was waiting for my beagle to pee.” Just didn’t sound professional.  I brought her in and decided I’d have to risk the mess.

9:27 I pulled into work. Made it. Score!

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By 9:45 I met todays task: Organize the Reliable Delivery Dungeon. I mean, the uniform closet. By light of a single, flickering florescent bulb, (good thing I don’t have epilepsy, that strobe effect could have been bad.)

I sorted, took inventory of and hung up a bazillion uniform shirts, jackets, coats and hats. (On nice plastic hangers as Holly, my boss of the moment, made clear the expectation: “No wire hangers!” ) Not in the mood for a beating..(movie reference, sorry)  I complied. ;)

In other words: I counted and put away laundry, all morning.

To be honest, standing alone in that dark closet,I felt a few tears well up. Maybe it was  the emotion of the whole morning rush, or maybe, it was *Sharpie fumes.. but I think it was my disappointment.  This was not what I had in mind. Forget the day-dream of what working might be like.  This was a nightmare.  I wondered if this job had been especially created for me because, you know..  I’m a SAHM, maybe all I’m really capable of is laundry…

Which is when, I remembered the world doesn’t revolve around me. (Funny how I usually think it does.) This was my job for the day, and I was going to do my best at it.  I’d asked to be put through the paces as a working mom, and this was it. So,(for the second time today) I got a grip, then, got down to work.

I finished after a couple of hours. And then, enjoyed throwing the empty boxes over the rail to the floor below. (Hey- it was a highlight of the day.  They made a loverly PLOP on the cement!)

I spent the afternoon: filing, compiling and shuffling, super- top -secret -spy -documents. I’d tell you what they were, but would hate to have to kill you, afterward. (Besides, I’m way too tired.) Ok, so I filed paperwork. Hey! My first promotion! Sweet!  So much better than the dungeon.

As a former homeschool mom, my ABC skillz are par. However— the drivers at Reliable Delivery have  Driver-numbers that most things are filed by. I managed to recall the number system (I feared I’d blocked it along with algebra.) and completed that task as well. (I was a filing maniac!  I rocked the cabinet! With the exception of a small paper-cut  and twice losing the same key to the Truck Driver Records Cabinet…(No clue why that’s in caps.. but since it is a  special- locked filing cabinet -I have no idea why- it just seemed fitting.) it was fairly drama-free. Score another task done for me!

Next, I was introduced to a new hot new friend. He is big and burly and built and has more copy/collate/hole punching skillz than I could ever hope to have. His name is: Mr Minolta Copier.   I know he was was hot- because about that time, I started to feel sweat drip down my back. It only took me 2 tries to figure out how to get Mr Minolta to do his copy, sort, hole -punch magic.  (sorry about letters A and B Kathy.. I had to do them twice.. oopsy) Mr Minolta and I then made 3 copies of the next The New York Times #1 Bestseller. It’s an incredible book… I felt like a ancient scribe..recording history for posterity.

Except I didn’t, and it wasn’t. It was: “The Supply Chain Logistics Terms And Glossary.” Quite possibly, the most boring book I’ve ever seen.

62797853-335ae9683fd294db3822fbf82a3bdd9a.4b6b6c3a-fullSee?  This boring.

And so completed my second day as a working mom.

Or did it?  Because it is currently 7:24 and dinner is still in the oven.   I am still trying to capture the experience in words and I only very recently, finished cleaning the shorkie puddle I found in my bedroom. On the carpet.  With my foot. When I got home. (Hmm I sense a theme… or maybe I sense that  someone would have to be crated, if I went to work every day.)

I am: tired. I just realized I didn’t eat all day, nor stop for a bathroom break, and I am so thirsty I am tempted to drink straight from the faucet. Umm better pace myself. Tomorrow, I’ll eat lunch like a human and drink water when I need to.

FYI: I am convinced, that if I had to inventory and organize uniforms alone, in the dark, for 8 hours a day, I would poke my own eyes out with a sharpie to escape. (Just sayin.. Not a job I would choose…)

And thats what happens on Day 2 of a SAHM becoming a working mom….

Wonder what tomorrow will be like?

Tomorrow I will be working in my friend Kathy’s office. Doing data entry. I am trying not to hyper ventilate over the idea of mucking up the computer system and the universe coming to an end. I’m pretty sure it could. Or not.

I guess we’ll see— tomorrow!

side note: I have spoken to my husband for about 13 minutes total, since Monday. He’s been in California, and now Milwaukee. Between my being busy and the time difference and my schedule.. it’s been rough. If I worked like this every week and he continued to travel.. it would be hard to remember each others voices, let alone faces. UGH.

Dear Lord.. I pray that you’d use these moments to help me learn what it’s like for other moms, and to communicate it well…. I really believe we need each other.. together we could make a better world… amen

*sharpie fumes… yes…but no actual accidental (or purposeful) getting high in the uniform closet… sorry but it was just too funny a line not to use it… :P

“Mr Gorbachev, Tear down this wall.

I was 21. When Ronald Reagan made that demand. It resonated through my being. I was really not much more than a kid, without political understanding, but even I could see how wrong that wall was.  I saw that wall as an ugly reminder of how differences of perspective (a simplification, I know)  can be used to separate and even kill.

What divided Germany?

Ideation? Perspective? Politics? Fear? Hatred? Control? Judgment?

Maybe, it was all of the above.

Today- we celebrate the action of a nation tearing down a wall and  being pieced back together. The tearing down of that wall was a symbol of unity over difference. it was the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

It was powerful. It still is.

Sadly?  It wasn’t the last wall built to divide. Nor was Communism the last Cold War. There are walls between Moms- and a Cold War being waged between us.

You don’t see them?  Look again. We are at war over our parenting methods,style, choice s and preferences. From diapering to schooling choice, we build walls around our opinions, judgments, perspectives, ideas, politics, cultures, and assumptions. They are invisible, but are just as real as Berlin’s concrete wall.

Like Berlin- we each stand on “our side,” armed with snipers rifles to keep the same in and the different- out.  We shoot words, looks, justifications and judgments like officers of mom-dom guarding our borders.

I’ve built my share of walls.  I’m learning to tear them down.

Why?

Because I’m learning my walls are (for the most part) built of Myth. Things I believe about others  based on tiny pieces of truth I know about them. I create whole myths that explain motive and actions without bothering to KNOW the person. It’s ugly. It’s wrong. and, it’s true.  I call them Mommy Myths- and it’s time for them to be busted.

I only know one way to bust Myths- (mommy or otherwise) and that is with truth. How do I learn the truth about moms who are different from me? BY GETTING TO KNOW THEM. It is messy and uncomfortable. and worth it.

I need other moms. Desperately. I need different opinions and perspectives. I need confrontation (I don’t WANT it, but I need it:P) and confirmation. I need connection and understanding. I need to listen and learn and be heard.

Maybe you do too.

I wonder what would happen if Mothers around the world tore down their walls?  I wonder what would happen if we learned to listen instead of assume.  I wonder what would happen if we could learn to appreciate our differences instead of judging and defending?  We may nit agree on everything- but maybe we could respect and understand. Maybe then, we could put away the verbal rifles and end the Mommy Cold War that is between us.

the world and our families- could be a better place.

Can you hear it?

There is a voice- standing not on one side or another- but above all of our walls and I hear it saying…

“Ms Mommy-chev, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL.”

It’s time to Bust some Mommy Myths- so we can pull out the bricks and mortars that build our walls– will you join me?