Thursday, August 23, 2012

Filling the Stay At Home Mom Void

This past spring, when I finally left my job to stay home with my son full time, I felt an immediate void. I was pretty surprised, since it was only part time, that I felt like something was missing. Work has always been my thing, and somehow it had become my way to get in my "me-time," (which is surprisingly counter-intuitive, since I spent it giving so much of myself.)

My void seemed to manifest itself in few ways:

1. Time 

I was now spending full days with my son and had to come up with something to do. Sitting in the house everyday, was just not working for me.

2. Mental Stimulation

While I spent my work time speaking with high school students, the conversation was far more engaging then those with my toddler.

3. Purpose

While there is a lot of purpose in being their for my son, and I recognize the great value in that, I felt like I needed to be making an impact on something external to our family.

4. Community

Basically, even as little as I saw them, I missed my coworkers. I missed being apart of a team.

Trying to find something to fill the void was harder than I realized, in hindsight. This post might seem a little late, but its really only in the last month or so that have I really felt like I've filled the void. Only now, several months later, have I really been able to identify that it worked. These past few months, I posted about trying a lot of things to try to fill in these areas.

And to be completely honest, none of these things actually filled the void.

However, all of these activities and events truly had their place in helping to fill my void because I actually found myself referring back to these things now that I'm occupying my time with mentally stimulating, community-building, purpose.

Every mom will fill that void with something different, and in my next post I'm going to talk about what I actually filled my void with, but in the meantime, what I've found is that getting out, staying busy (even with things you completely make-up,) and trying new things really can help lead you to find a me-time activity that you find meaningful.


P.S. - Just me making up stuff to fill my void? I'd love to hear some of the things you've tried!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Action Item Update: Summer Success!

I've been crazy busy these past two months with running my new business but it's been simply amazing and I couldn't be happier with my decision to do it. However, in an effort to remain focused to my original mission, I'm going on posting about some of the things that I've committed to doing: specifically, my action items.

Here's a look back to my last post:

Now check out all the green I've added!

Here's the highlights of what I've been up to this month!

- I just got back from my first trip away from home without my son. I was invited to attend a convention for a women's organization that I volunteer for and the trip was fabulous! While Dad and son hung out for four days, I got a chance to network, learn, and get inspired. So yays for attending a networking event, taking a class, and having a night out!

- Working on my business as giving me plenty of opportunities to learn new (blog) skills: I've been using a software to create email marketing campaigns and I've got a ton better at using a social media scheduler like Gremln and HootSuite.

- I've only managed one book: Water for Elephants which I LOVED! However, I'm halfway through an awesome recommendation from Joanna: MWF Seeking BFF, that unbelievable hits home for me.

- This summer my husband and I decided to join a CSA (farm share program) that preps a box full of fresh local veggies for us each week. We've spent the past month making a real commitment to eating healthier and less processed and the box of veggies has really motivated us to eat a more diverse array of veggies. It's been a fun challenge to learn to prepare new veggies like: cabbage, kale, chard, Choi, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, and beets; (sadly some of these aren't even that rare but they are new to us!) So essentially, I've rocked out in the recipe department. Here's a few faves: Avocado with Bell Pepper and Tomato Salad, Garlic Scape Pesto (with quinoa), Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots, Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, Grilled Salmon with Orange-Avocado Salsa, Sesame-Kale Crisps, and Red Lentil Soup. I picked a few faves to post here but this seriously isn't even a taste of all the new things we've this which I had a hard time talking my husband into because I wasn't even excited for it...but it seriously was pretty good. To be honest, this whole eating fresh thing kind of came about (for a number of reasons) but one being that we noticed a disconnect from what we were feeding our son and what we were feeding ourselves. It could seriously be a whole other post...but if your looking for resources we used a lot of the recipes from Whole Living's 2012 Action Plan Challenge.

- The home projects have been kind of lackluster...ideally we've been wanting to DIY redo our kitchen this summer but we've been really unmotivated in that department. We'll see...

- Lastly, I've been maxing out on the nights out - mostly because my awesome sister came into town and my husband and I capitalized on a free babysitter (we saw our first movie in a theater in over a year) but I've also managed to get out with the girls too which in some ways is equally as nice. I managed 5 nights, all of which were awesome: shopping date with my sissy, movie with husband, dinner with husband, dinner with the girls, and a happy hour!

I'm still not even halfway there but I've been busy and it feels good!


P.S. - Anyone else trying the CSA thing? (I love recipes!) Or planning a major home remodel? (I need guidance!) Or just getting some time out of the house with the one(s) you love? (Yay!)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to The Future (Letter)

That whole Back to the Future hoax that just happened reminded me of a post that I've been meaning to write for some time now.

A few months back my life coach talked to me about writing a future letter. So, I wrote the letter a few months ago and since Jess suggests reflecting on it (infrequently) through out the year, I decided to pull it back out for a read. (Literally "back to the future" and back again! Haha...I crack myself up.) 

First, I've got to say, writing the letter - very cathartic. It helped me put into words what I wanted to do by picturing what I wanted to see. I don't think I can sum it up any better then that, so let me emphasize it again: it helped me put into words what I wanted to do by picturing what I wanted to see. 

When I pulled it out today, it was a refreshing reminder of how I picture my future life and it was easy to identify things that are coming to fruition and those that may not (which is fine.) Not only was it a fantastic visual goal report (better than any pie chart), it was incredibly motivational to see how much has happened in just a few short months and it left me...inspired.


P.S. - Anyone else go back to their future letter lately?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Action Item Update: Slow and Steady (Wins the Race?)

I'm sure posting these goal updates are more for me than for you, even though you don't realize it - you are holding me accountable and so I'm going to keep reporting out.

I'm slowly but surely accomplishing items, and while I'm not running through things incredibly fast - I've clipped up my pace by focusing on what is interesting me at the time.

In the past 2 months, I've completed 15 items! (AND May isn't even over yet, so hopefully I can eek out a few more!)

A couple of highlights:

- I made a printable (ie - figured out how to post a pdf of my blog and enable it to be downloaded.)

- I read (and memorized) my study guide to take my ACE Group Fitness Instructor Exam - (AND I passed!)

- I've been reading a lot - for fun! I downed Mockingjay (super surprised by the ending - but liked it), The Accidental Tourist (a little sad and hard for me to read, but an interesting perspective), and The Lover's Dictionary (super fast read, but it was just ok.)

- I started taking Stroller Strides classes (workouts for me and a stroller ride and songs for baby) AND I took an online class about teaching pre/post-natal fitness so I can teach my own classes!

- Baby and I have been a ton of places, but the highlights would have to be the Zoo and our local pet store! The zoo was a planned trip (for Mother's Day,) however the pet store was a sporadic trip for dog food that turned into a long tour. My son LOVES animals and it's been so fun to see him see new things. If you can't make it to a zoo or just need to kill a little time, check it out, (aquarium displays are equally entertaining.)

- I went through my closet and started getting rid of all my work clothes.

- I had two fantastic nights out - one wine night with the girls and one date night with the husband! Yay!

Overall, it's good to see my progress moving and I think it was helped a lot by changing my perspective about my goals.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Baby!

Today's my son's first birthday! The saying, "the days are long but the years are short," true in my book. This year just flew by!

We were so blessed to be able to have a little one year celebration this past weekend with family and friends. Little man had a blast attacking his first cupcake! We put together a real simple celebration (mainly with ideas from my One pinboard!)

We also had a first birthday photoshoot with the lovely Kari from Karianna Photography, who got some fantastic shots! Below are a few of my faves but you can check out a bunch more via this post on her blog. She was super nice and was great to work with; we totally recommend her if your looking for someone! A lot of the ideas for props, the cake and icing recipe, and such I also got via pinterest and you can check that out on my One Board too!

First Birthday and Cake Smash Photo Shoot







P.S. - Cake Smash Birthday photos via Karianna Photography. Check her out!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Finally Feeling Some Tangible (EMPLOYABLE) Results

When I started The Employable Mom, I wanted a space to organize my experiences of staying employable while on my "extended maternity leave": and so I began doing some talking (actually a lot of talking), plus some research and more research, and self-exploration and now I'm doing a lot of "doing!" To be honest it's keeping me really busy but a lot of where I am now is due to the things I was doing back then, like: goal setting, finding ways to get out of the house and be social, getting CPR and First Aid certified (which has surprisingly come in very handy,) and a ton of other things. I've loved all the self discovery but I'm even more excited to be doing something that makes me feel productive because I've finally found the mommy project I've been so desperately looking for!

Let me give you some context: a few posts back, I shared some potential BIG NEWS and now I can almost certify that it's official BIG NEWS because next week I'm going to finalize the paperwork for my purchase of a pre/post-postnatal fitness franchise! I'm really excited, I think that this will enable me to gain a lot of marketable skills in addition to trying a whole realm of new things!

Now buying a franchise isn't for everyone, and I still plan on peeking into other employable opportunities for SAHMs, because one of my goals for EM is to really flush out all of the options out there. However, EM will see a few changes, mostly in posting regularity, but possibly in content. And once I get over the newness hump of running my own business, I'll most certainly re-evaluate my plans for EM.

I guess what I'm trying to do here is give a little update on my project's progress and renew my commitment to my Employable Mom community. I don't want you to think I've forgotten about you as my posts move to being more far and few between. I'm anticipating that I will maintain this speed, but don't anticipate that I stop all-together. I've still got a journey to document; plus I've got big things planned and I'm excited to share them with you!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Pretty Fricking Funny Feed Read to Break-up the Monotony of the Day

I've become a pretty bad blogger in the past two weeks. This is seriously the longest I've gone because despite all of my thoughtfully organized nap times and such, it has been literally thrown out the window due to some serious over-programming/sick baby-ness that has unbelievable got me off my kilt.

So for today's feed read I'm just going to pass along a few laughable links I've been hoarding from you, and hopefully, come Thursday (my new "day") I'll be able to post a bunch of other really great posts I'm been working on.

While nursing my son, I get about 3-5 min where I can just sit & read. Every week, I'm going to start you off with a Feed Read: links to sites that I enjoyed and would recommend to you whenever you get your own five minutes.

A hysterical children's book.

Funny post about the many wardrobes of mom and another about mommy math.

A great (and hysterical) example about being careful what you film (or put on social media.)

Some hilarious reviews of Amazon products.

Lastly, an interesting (and maybe not so hilarious) look at why wedding dresses cost so much. Same thing when you slap "baby" on a product.


P.S. - Seen anything else funny on the web? Share your links below!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

FREE Document Publishing Site and Rotating Goal List PRINTABLE

I'm super excited to share this awesome free document publishing site and my first printable!

Lately, I've been talking a lot about working on my productivity because my to-do list has been feeling super overwhelming. For a while now I've been LOVING this Rotating Goal List that I found on pinterest because it will allow me to prioritize the important things without having to look at the whole list. Corn Flower Blue Studio gives a great tutorial on how to make it, here. However, as soon as I saw that it involved crafts, my heart sank! I am just not that crafty; but to craft something up on the computer - right up my alley.

So I got to work making my first printable, in Microsoft Word (I'm not that fancy,) but wanted to be able to display it and allow anyone to download it from my blog.

Enter Scribd, which enabled me to do this:
Rotating Goal List Printable

Isn't it pretty? (Click the fullscreen button for the best view!)

Scribd is great for self-publishing and can be embedded into your blog!  There are so many great ways to self-publish (another one here) but this one is super easy since you can basically upload any document in any format. It also keeps analytics for you. Awesome! (This isn't sponsored or anything, I just really like it and had to share!)

Ok, so back to the printable itself. When I was a teacher, I used to make coordinate plane white boards by slipping a huge coordinate plane into a sheet protector; then I had plenty of "white boards" to pass out to students for graphing practice. So - that's what I did with this: print, slip, write. Whenever I feel like I'm running around aimlessly, trying to accomplish too many things at once, I pull out this little sheet and refocus myself.

This rotating goal list white board has been so successful, I've come up with a few additional printable white boards that I'll be sharing in my next post.


P.S. - How do you keep your to-do lists from overwhelming you?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Keep Your Head Up

I cannot get this song out of my head! So darn catchy!

So I've been kind of bumming all week. I don't know why but some days/weeks hit me really hard with urges to be working. I've been keeping really busy with other things too. Unfortunately, when I'm so busy, it takes time away from getting posts out, and then it starts to get to me. Ah, the double edged sword. (Also, my son isn't sleeping that never helps.)

Just to catch you up on what I have been so busy with...

A few weeks ago I cleaned out my closet of all my old work related clothes (and other junk) and this week I finally took them to our local branch of Dress for Success. It was bittersweet. Obviously, I'm super happy to be helping other women look great at work; I donated some suits and I'm really glad that they will match them up with an owner who will love them as much as I did. But it's just kind of a reminder that I am not working, (albeit, for good reason.)

I've been working on some home projects: rearranging furniture, making a big chalk board, general organizing, and trying to find myself a little workspace in our little home. I'm also planning on staining some furniture, making some art for our super bare walls, doing some furniture repair, and picking fabrics for some reupholstering. I like doing home-y things but I'm so afraid of picking something that will turn out to be not how I pictured and becomes an expensive mistake. So, decorating the house ends up being a ridiculously long and time consuming process. I tell my husband, "I'm afraid of commitment."

We're also planning for another marathon 2 week trip to DC and having a little first birthday celebration for the baby (omg...I'm not going to be able to call him that anymore.) Of course I'm so excited, but there are lots of things to do.

I don't think I've mentioned this here before, but I volunteer as an adviser for the local chapter of my college sorority. A lot of the officers have had major questions and so I've been meeting with all 18 girls one-on-one to help sort things out before the year comes to an end. It's been interesting to learn all the intricacies of the organization, which is somewhat akin to a company. I've been giving advice on finance, marketing, HR, etc. It's been good but it's really really time consuming.

And the last thing is my BIGGEST NEWS: I've been exploring the possibility of starting a mommy business. This blog has been a great mommy project, but sometimes I feel like it's not enough. I like writing and sharing information but I don't like sitting behind a computer all day. I need to be around people. And actually, an opportunity has kind of presented itself. I'm still trying to figure out the details of everything. Sometimes, it sounds like a really great idea, and then other times I feel like I'm in over my head and that it wont work out. I'm not ready to share everything quite yet, but as I learn more about it I will def pass along the messy details.

It's funny because these things that have been keeping my busy are great things, but somehow I'm still bogged down. I'm sure his sleep issues have A LOT to do with it, combined with still working on a routine for organizing my time. Hopefully, this Andy Grammer song that I've got perpetually playing in my head for like the past three days will give me a boost.


P.S. - How do you work through the exhausting, busy, unorganized days? I love tips.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Feed Read: The Infamous 1st Birthday Cake Smash and Other Baby Photos

I finally booked a photog for our little one's first professional photo shoot. I'm super excited about the cake smash and have been busy pinning ideas all morning. Check out my One board for some awesome cake smash photo shoot ideas, as well as first birthday plans. It's still a month away but I can't wait to share the photos with you! For this weeks feed read I've got a couple of my favorite articles about taking pics of baby and tips for planning your own cake smash shoot.

While nursing my son, I get about 3-5 min where I can just sit & read. Every week, I'm going to start you off with a Feed Read: links to sites that I enjoyed and would recommend to you whenever you get your own five minutes.

Tips and cute ideas for baby photos at the hospital, week-by-week, month-by-month (plus free printable,) plus a few more cute props & locations.

6 Tips for Cake Smash Photo Shoot

Here's the cake I'm making for our cake smash, (but I'm planning on icing the whole thing and adding sprinkles and a candle.)

Update: Wondering how it all went down? Check it out here.


P.S. - Got any great first birthday resources you'd like to share?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mom Moments: Get Your Nose in a Book

Little did I know, last week's first picture would become a trend. I swear this kid is so easy - no toys, just books. I'm so blessed!

1. Maybe he needs glasses?

2. If it's shaped like a chocolate rabbit, shouldn't it taste like one too?

3. These bunnies are awesome!

4. We put him to bed (sans book) and a few minutes later...he mysteriously had one.



P.S. - Any recommended reading for the little one?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Goal Review: Changing My Perspective

I've been putting off my March Goal Review for a few days now because I'm actually a little afraid to look at it. I have a strange feeling it's going to be bad. I literally haven't looked at it since my last goal review and basically...out of sight, out of mind. Not good. (Even sadder, it has been so out of sight that I never even transferred a copy from my old computer to my new one.)

I really like my list and want to do all the things on them but I am a little worried that I'm not going to finish. 

Enter Finish Year

I randomly happened upon this great blog from another great blog and the timing could not be perfect because as I started writing my review of my months goals - I got disenchanted with the process and the bad grades I am getting. I sort of need a kick in the butt, i.e. a new way to look at my goal list, a way to encourage me to finish.

I've been looking at this all wrong as a routine to do list; I'm not trying to build habits out of these things, I just want some new experiences. And since it's getting me bogged down - I'm not going to do that anymore! Instead, I'm just going to focus on getting these done over the course of the year. Trying to work on 12 different goals a month is HARD, and in some cases (like learning a new blog skill) it's hard to hold back. I think it will be much easier to focus on things organically and check things off, like a list. Sure I might get all the easier things done first, but then that gives me exclusive time to focus on the harder things.

So here is my monthly review of all the things I've done:


Learn a new blog skill

I've added a new banner! What do you think?

Volunteer somewhere new

I haven't fully finalized this yet BUT it's very exciting so I'm going to share. Remember when I said my informational interview provided me with some ways to get experience right now? Well, long story short, I submitted a proposal to volunteer with a local organization helping them to coordinate their social media efforts - and they accepted it! We are working on scheduling a meeting to get the ball rolling. I'll keep you updated!

Read an employable book

I posted about how I started this AMAZING book, The Comeback. I literally just finished it last night and LOVED it. I just really liked hearing individual women's stories about taking time off and how they returned to their careers. It was hopeful, inspiring and empowering. Plus, it made me feel like I'm not alone!

Try a new recipe

I actually tried two this month. The first was from The Everygirl. They put out an awesome 10 meals for less then $50 pdf and I tried the flatbread (sans chicken) - fantastic and SO EASY! The second was for an app I wanted to try: buffalo shrimp and I added my own version of this Bleu Cheese dressing (see my notes for changes); both turned out delicious!

Take baby to a new place

I got a groupon to try out our local Stroller Strides class which we just did this past Monday (not really March!) I only did it because of the groupon and I kind of expected the class to be more social than an actual workout. However, I was pleasantly surprised; I LOVED it and I'm still sore today! Great workout and def planning to make it a permanent join.

Complete a home project

We FINALLY bought a new bed! It's just the mattress so far, we have plans to go pick up the frame this weekend but regardless - YAY! Getting a new bed has been way overdue; ours was so uncomfortable, we were waking up sore and getting no sleep. So last weekend we finally splurged and went for it. BEST.PURCHASE.EVER.

So my goal review now feels incredibly positive and so does my new chart!

Lots of green! And I'm actually looking forward to sharing this with you next month!

(I've also got one last thing I've changed...but I'm actually going to save it for tomorrow's post about productivity.)


P.S. - How are your yearly goals? Didn't set any? There's still time! Check out this post about creating your Finish List for the year and start now!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Colourlovers: Design for the SAHM

In the "learn a new blog skill section" of this post I shared my discovery of a few color palette sites and apps I found while designing my blog. Well, when I was working on this weeks arty Feed Read post, I found another AWESOME palette site and it's so good and so full of employability potential that I couldn't just write one sentence about it, so I just had to write a whole post.

I found the site while playing around with twitter. While I was uploading my background to my page, I happen to click on the "Check out Themeleon" link which I though was cool because it lets you create an awesome twitter background and design a color palette, etc.

So I started exploring the site hosting this service, Colourlovers, and I have just about fallen in love with it.

(The first time, I skipped the tour, but in retrospect - do it; I learned more.)

I started with the pattern template generator, which basically enables you to make a template for a pattern, (it's best viewed in it's entirety, here.)


Then I was able to add color that resulted in this whole pattern.


And then you have so many options for your pattern:

1. Background

You can download the image for your desktop, for your iphone, or for your blog background!

2. Fabric

You can turn it into a fabric, that you can sell here. (Mine isn't for sale...yet!)

3. Art

You can turn it into framed, canvas or print art, that you can sell (however, they have put a hold on new artist sign-ups, so I'll keep you updated when I get in.)

So it was at this point that I went back and tried the tour, where I customized my Employable Mom color palette from the colors I use for my site.

Baby_BlueI took these colors right from my site by typing my HEX#s right into Colourlovers. The COOLEST PART, was when I typed in my blue color they said that it was a "new color" to the site and they let me NAME IT (which I named after my son.) Check out Baby Blue! Also, and this is also kind of cool - it correlates to a Martha Stewart paint color that you can buy from Home Depot (however, it renders the "closest match" which for this one isn't really close at all...)

I basically spent my entire day playing with this site because it's so much fun! This would be such a fantastic site for a fashion/artistic/design mom to work on fabric design, or whatnot. If you decide to join, follow me, so I can follow back and check out all of the amazing designs your coming up with! I hope you enjoy playing with it as much as I did!


P.S. - Have any cool sites that you think would enable a SAHM to get her foot in the door? (Like this one!) Share them below! (I want to try them all and report back!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Feed Read: 5 Fun Art Apps and Sites

I love finding sites and apps that do cool things - for free. This week I've compiled a few of my favorite artistic faves.

While nursing my son, I get about 3-5 min where I can just sit & read. Every week, I'm going to start you off with a Feed Read: links to sites that I enjoyed and would recommend to you whenever you get your own five minutes.


1. Clibe

I wish I had an ipad! This app allows you to craft a digital journal with pics, text, drawings, etc. Some uses: inspiration books, sketches, photo albums, school projects, and a digital record of kids art (I'm sure the intent is just to keep them occupied...haha.) However, this one was so good it made me tear up - (I'm a sap!)

2. Chanel

They sure are starting them early with this Chanel coloring book.

3. Presi

Awesome presentation maker site! This presentation by TED presenter JR shows off some of the cool features of the site.

4. Avatars

Need an avatar profile pic? Customize a bazillion different ones here. (Bazillion may be a slight exaggeration.)

Here's my Mad Men avatar!


5. Minimalist Economics

Last but not least, check out these funny minimalist economic movie posters.



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mom Moments: Such a Funny Age

I remember when I was pregnant people would come up to me and say things like "well, just wait until you get to 1 because it's such a fun age." People said that between 10-12 months was "such a fun age" so frequently, I've been really waiting to see what is so fun about it.

What I actually think they should say is, "it's such a funny age." Recently, my son has definitely become the root of a lot of laughter in our house (with not at... Ok, who are we kidding, at.)

1. "I'm reading I swear!"

2. Suction cup fail

3. "Well, what's this do?"

4. Working on my fitness


P.S. - Any funny moments from your little ones this week?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Informational Interviews are Great for SAHMs

When I started talking with a life coach, one of the things that she asked me to do was set up an informational interview, which I didn't really want to do because I was kind of scared.

For me the context of information interview came from What Color is Your Parachute, where the author is basically like, "call somebody up that you want to know, ask them for a few minutes of their time" and then grill them on everything related to their job. Not really my cup of tea, I just feel bad bothering people and asking for favors.

However, my life coach kept bringing it up and not wanting to reveal that I wasn't planning on doing it if left on my own, I agreed to let her contact a friend in the career field I was interested. (In retrospect, I was curious about the industry enough that I had mentioned it during our sessions probably more than once.)

Well, once the emails started flying, it finally clicked that this was really going to go down. When we scheduled our phone interview, (which was best for me because I get super nervous in person) I figured I'd better start to prepare.

How I Prepared

This basically entailed:
  1. I wrote out a list of questions I had.
  2. I did some basic research on the career in question.  
  3. I planned on having my husband come home a little early from work to occupy our son (who ended up napping through the entire thing.)
  4. I googled around for some more questions in case I forgot something.
In order to save you time here is my list:
Whatis the role like?What is the industry like?What types of other roles are in the industry? Tell me about your day?Team or individual work?Do you put on programming?Opportunities for advancement? Next steps? Where do you see yourself?What kind of education is needed?What is the best way to get experience?Are there any volunteer opportunities available?Any recommended books? Things I should be researching? 

How It Went

When the day for the interview finally came, my computer literally breathed it's last breath, and I spent several hours freaking out about how I lost all my questions and research. Luckily, my husband is a computer whiz and managed to do some sort of craziness that enabled me to view my hard drive from his computer, all with five minutes to spare.

All the stressing I did, proved pointless, because the call ended up being a breeze. Stephanie, the woman that Joanna set me up with, was super easy to talk to and friendly. We literally just had a conversation about her job and I mostly did a lot of listening. She answered many of my questions unprompted and a lot of the things I asked about weren't on my list anyway. (I was still glad I prepared though.)


What I Got

After I wrote all about my experience, I was kind of reflecting about it and got to thinking, but what is the point? Why is this even relevant to me, the early stage career breaker? I'm not even planning on returning to the job market until at least 2014! I almost, for a slight second, felt guilty that I wasted Stephanie's time. But once I started thinking about what I got out of it, my guilt turned to extreme gratitude, because a lot of the things we talked about will help me out in the long view.


1. Insider knowledge. I got a great picture of what the job really entails, how to land a job in the field, and the experience needed; all things I would have never figured out without having spoken to an insider. I had a really different perception about some things and Stephanie really straighten me out. Essentially, I was able to learn a ton of juicy tidbits without the years of investment it would have taken for me to get to the same role. Had I decided to pursue this without her advice, my first instinct would have been to go back to school (all wrong!)


2. Resources. Stephanie shot me an email after our conversation with tons of sites and books and WAYS TO GET EXPERIENCE that I can start working on RIGHT NOW, (which I've actually implemented and have already gotten a great volunteer opportunity out of!)  


3. An industry contact. I have a new LinkedIn friend! 


4. Confidence. Most importantly, the call reassured me that informational interviewing is not hard and that I could still have a business conversation with an adult. It was actually kind of a self-esteem boost.


Overall, the informational interview turned out to be a success; and just like with my inability to stop applying for jobs, there are loads of benefits. I'd definitely do it again and most certainly recommend it to other SAHMs.



P.S. - Have you ever done an informational interview? Where you equally nervous going into it? How did it go?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making Me-Time at Naptime

Making Me-Time at Naptime
My son's asleep and I'm just going to wait until he wakes to pick them up.
Just to preface this, I am not a certified expert on parenting, time management, or really anything else that I post. If I want an expert opinion, I usually link to my reference, because when I offer advice I'm basically just spouting off my experience from my one and only case study - myself.

That being said, I have some more advice.

A week ago, I was at a playgroup and told another mom that I had to return a bunch of books to the library (one being the untouched 2nd part of the Hunger Games because I really needed the third and cannot tell them apart for the life of me, whatevs.) She was really shocked when I said it and asked me "how do you have time to read? My son keeps me so busy." At first I kind of chalked it up to being stuck in the hotel room with nothing else to do but after thinking about it, I have time to read/blog because I am constantly working to make time for myself.


Finding Time for You is EASY

I never though making time for myself as a new mom would have ever been possible until I read Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer and started implementing her EASY method. In EASY, she advocates that after S (the baby goes to sleep) you take time for Y (you.) In the beginning, this meant I took a shower but over time this has evolved into a really productive 90 minute block of time for me where I usually blog, read, or do whatever the heck I want! (And really, whatever routine you use, you can make time for yourself, although I guess this is pending your child taking a nap and how many little ones you have.)


Truly Make it Yours

Somewhere in the book, she truly advocates for making the most of this "you" time: don't clean the house, don't do something for the baby - take care of YOU: give yourself a manicure, read a book or work on your nap time project.

So I've started working on maximizing this 90 minutes by getting as much non-me stuff done around the house while my son is awake, (which I wasn't fully able to attempt until about 7 months because that's when my son decided he didn't want to play with me as much anymore/he discovered our dog.)


Maximizing Strategy #1: Make chores a playtime activity.

If we are playing in the living room, I clean it. If I need to go through mail, baby plays with the magazines while I rip up credit card offers. If I'm putting away groceries, my son likes to take stuff out of bags (which hopefully will become more helpful then chip-smashing.) I'm frequently surprised by how some of his favorite toys are just everyday objects, for example if I ever need to calm him down: puffs bottle. He LOVES it. Serious love too. It's astounding. Wish I would have realized it early because it would have saved me a bundle on toys!

Regardless, I've learned to not feel guilty about moving my son room to room with me as I clean or fold laundry (which he also likes to pull out of the basket) because I feel like it's getting him accustomed to our life routine (which I hope does more for me in the long term then just sounds good.) Now I wouldn't say I get 100% of the non-me things done, but it helps, and the rest I leave for the weekends or when my husband is home to tag team.


Maximizing Strategy #2: Find your prime time.

I get up early in the morning because it's my prime time. Usually, we get up at 6am, regardless.) Whatever your most productive time of the day, morning/afternoon, plan your sleeping schedule around it.

And to be honest, this system isn't perfect. Since I started writing this post last week (and I'm finally finishing it up now) my son has been off his schedule like woah - probably because of all the travel. So I've been attempting to try a couple more productivity tips in the coming week(s) to share with you as well.

In the meantime - I would LOVE to hear how you get some me-time, especially if you have more than one! Any tips or tricks?