Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Current State of Umeployment

Here's the thing... I know it will all work out. I know when I look back on all of this it will have been worth it. I know there is a silver lining. I also know how fortunate I am to have such strong job prospects only a month into unemployment. I am grateful for the time I've had with my kids. I'm blessed to have the support and love from my husband and my family. I know all of this. 

But it's okay for me to say despite it all... this fucking sucks. It just does. I have good days and then I have very bad days where I feel aimless and like I don't "belong." I feel like a fraud at daycare drop off and pickup and I feel like a fraud at the park among the gaggles of SAHM's and their organized play groups. 

I still don't sleep very well because the weight of all my thoughts pushes down on me the most at night. Thoughts of how surreal it still is and thoughts of how it all went down. Thoughts of the future. You see, the bills don't stop their usual rotation for the unemployed. Crazy, right? Oh, and remember once upon a time when I mentioned we were looking to buy a new house? Well the funny thing about home lenders is that they frown upon giving loans out to the unemployed as well. 

On good days I'm happy and at peace with everything. After all, I wanted to leave where I was and already had the ball in motion. I also feel rejuvenated and ready to welcome the unknown. I work out as much as I can and I haven't been this sore in forever!

On bad days saying goodbye to seven years of my professional life can be really tough. On these days I'm kind of a mess not able to think clearly and emotional. Then, since I'm home I get bored and I want to eat all. the. things. Hence, the constant working out. ::shrugs shoulders:: On these days I'm getting by. 

It's not pretty but it's my truth and it's okay. I saw a quote recently:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.  --Steve Furtick

I couldn't be more "behind-the-scenes" with my life right now if I tried. You know, the hardest part is that this isn't me. I work and I always have. I never took time off for spring breaks or summer breaks when I was younger. Whenever I'd get a new job I'd never have time in between to take a breather. I'd always end one on Friday and begin the other on Monday. I don't know what it is like to NOT be working.

I'm not really able to enjoy this time and I honestly don't think I can let myself enjoy it. Even though I worked really hard for the last seven years and learned how to juggle the demands as a key employee and a new mom, I still haven't given myself permission to enjoy having some down time to clear my head... perhaps I should try. 

There is a lot of gray in my unemployment story. But at least I am motivated and determined to come out of this situation better than when I entered it. It's this motivation that has me excited and eager to head into each interview instead of nervous and afraid. The determination I'm feeling fuels my intent of progressing my career and proving myself an asset to any future employer.

I may be in day-to-day mode as far as the "how are you holding up" question is concerned. But at least I'm holding up. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Everyday Inspiration

Last week was a much more positive week for me. I took the pep talk my husband gave me to heart, I started to shift my thought process and I made the decision to stop feeling sad.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

In fact, after I hugged the crap out of him I laced up my sneakers, cranked up my tunes and I walked my little heart out all over the neighborhood to clear my head and to shake off the stress, anger, sadness, fear of the unknown. I don't have it in me to be consumed by this any longer. There may be blips here and there because I'm human and because unemployment is a journey that I can't predict. So I will go with the flow while making every effort to stay positive and  motivated. 

Last week I searched for inspiration to keep me going. To keep my thoughts positive and to empower me. I read quotes, I read stories, blogs, and listen to a boat load of music that typically keeps me upbeat (and that allows me to get out all the anger - read: Rage Against the Machine). But to be honest it was the little things in my everyday life that really kept my spirits up!

My favorite coffee mug: On one side, "Life is Good" and on the other, "Do what you like. Like what you do." So I'm unemployed, it isn't going to be forever. I have worked really, really hard all these years and I am confident that I will find my career progressing and in a new position in no time. I have my family and my health so yeah... life is good. As for doing what I like and liking what I do, that is my mission with a new opportunity. I'm keeping this in mind with everything I consider applying for.


My practice: I had to wait for the right time for this one. Being alone with my thoughts has been hard up until last week. I dreaded bedtime because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep and shut my brain off. Same went for yoga. I've always enjoyed practicing yoga because of the mental clarity I get from it in addition to the physical benefits. But to be honest I was feeling too fragile to tap into that clarity because I was sick of crying and feeling down and I was sure that was the only thing I would do while meditating. I was wrong. It was just what I needed to drown out my negative thoughts and to just be.



My family: It is amazing how much support I have had from family and friends. Talk about motivation to stay positive and keep moving forward! Everyone from my parents, in-laws, BFF's and even my internet friends I've never met! It has been overwhelming and I can't thank everyone enough. Then there is my love. My husband. That man has been the most inspirational to me throughout this whole process. He let me be a puddle of goo to get it out of my system and then he knew just when to swoop in and lift my spirits while gently telling to snap out of it! 

And finally... my children. I've been able to spend more time with them since this all went down and it has been good for me. They are beyond all reason who I live and breathe for and they are inspirational to me like nothing else in my life. Their raw innocence and unconditional love keeps me moving forward and reminds me that I'm no good to them if i'm consuming my mind with negativity. 



In many ways my story is just getting started. Instead of filling my mind with worry and doubt I have shifted to embracing the unknown. Being unemployed is certainly not ideal but I need to look at this time as a gift. I am able to focus 100% on my next career move which I was not able to do before. This isn't how I pictured things playing out but that's life isn't it? I was going to make a change this year any way and now it's just happening in a differently than I thought. Guess what? I can't control everything. Same with you? Funny how we have to be reminded of that from time-to-time. Amiright???

I thought of another Great Grandma Pearl gem, "is that bump in the road a stumbling block or a stepping stone?" The choice is up to you. After all, life is a series of choices and you may not always be able to control the outcome but the ability to choose your outlook and direction is a powerful thing.

Onward...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Opportunity, are you there? It's me... Kendra.

It's been a week.

I have been on an emotional roller coaster having moments of clarity and purpose followed by doubt and sadness. Trouble with the latter is that I am a very emotional and sensitive person and at times I tend to fall too deeply into the sadness part.

Thankfully I have learned over the years how to take a mental inventory when this starts to happen and take some time to "snap out of it," so to speak. It isn't easy, in fact pulling myself up from the darkness has always been hard for me.

Yesterday I had a moment of weakness. I arrived as guest of honor to my pity party for one and I did it right. I got out some serious emotion and I cried to the point of those gaspy sobs that shorten your breath. It wasn't pretty people.

After the dramatics subsided Hubs came to talk with me. He calmed me down by walking me through the reality of why I'm here. He validated my right to feel sad but he reminded me of all the reasons I have to feel positive about where I am. For me, and I'm sure countless others who have been in this position before, it is hard to not have a choice about something and have someone else dictate a life change to you instead of it being on your own terms.

I made no bones about wanting to progress my career this year, so making a change at some point with inevitable. I just never anticipated it to happen this way. ::sigh::

Such is life.

Then Hubs gave me the pep talk to end all pep talks. He told me it's time to draw a line in the sand and make the pivotal choice to let the emotion consume me or to admit it sucks something awful but rise above and make these crummy circumstances into opportunity. He truly said it way better than this but I've given you the gist here.

Basically, as he was talking my tears dried up, I started rise up from my wallowing spot, and I felt 50 shades of inspired. I wanted to suit up in my best gray sweats while my husbands speech played in the background along with the Rocky theme song (of course) as I mounted a flight of stairs all the way to the top of our capital building, bobbing and weaving and punching the crap out of the air.


I choose to put the past behind me and focus on my future. Admittedly it may not always be easy. Seven years of my life is not just a small span of time. But my future awaits and even though I'm on a journey of unknowns and hurdles, it doesn't matter. It will work out, this will pass and I'm going to be so much better for it!

Opportunity, are you there? It's me... Kendra. I'm coming to gettcha!

But before that, BRB

 ::laces up black chucks then starts in with the air punches::



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thoughts

I jolted awake at a ridiculous hour this morning after a restless night complete with tossing and turning. My thoughts dialed up demanding space in my weary head. One thought right after another preventing me from dosing back to sleep in my warm, oh-so-lovely bed.

The house was completely dark, Hubs breathing heavily next to me, and my cats adhered to various spots along my body like velcro. Baby Donut is under the weather and her sweet little sick girl moans sporadically lit up the baby monitor for a few blips then she was back to sleep.

I just laid on my back with eyes wide open staring at a pitch black ceiling I could barely see thanks to the green glow of my digital alarm clock. I laid there and I thought all the thoughts. The worries, the what ifs, the how did I get here, the fear of the unknown. A few positive thoughts poked their way through the stress and, to be quite honest, the sadness.

After numerous failed attempts and shutting my brain off and getting back to sleep I sighed deeply and made my way downstairs. Now what?

Now, I dive into this computer, I network, I call, I write. All in an effort to find my new beginning. I want to find it quickly in order to silence the worries and what ifs. I want to stay diligent and focused to turn the unknown into what it was meant to be all along. I know there is a reason I've found myself here and I can't wait for the ah-ha moment that it becomes clear.

Until then my thoughts will continue to grab hold of my conscience whenever they see fit. They might bring me down here and there but I will fight to keep them positive and motivated. I won't be in this gray area for long.

So this is unemployment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm here...

I'm currently in the middle of life. Life that is exciting, unexpected, and scary all at the same time. I'm in the middle of a beautiful life with two fun and adorable children that I love so much it hurts. Life with my supportive partner and the man I love desperately.

I'm here. I've been quiet on the blog for many reasons and I just wanted to pop in and let the tens of you that read this space in my life know that I'm not going to stop, I just needed some silence. 

Life has us continually looking to buy our first home. We are busy as can be hunting for "the one" and purging and cleaning our current house in preparation. Exciting for sure!

Life has sent a new job my husbands way and I couldn't be prouder of him. He works so hard and this opportunity is really going to allow his talents to shine! 

Life has us weeks away from my son's 3rd birthday. Can you believe it? I sure can't! We have a fun dragon party in the works for him. Dragons are currently his whole world. It's pretty darn cute.

Life is a baby girl who is a full-on toddler now! She blossoms with each new day and it is so amazing to witness. 

And then life sent me a box. A box waiting for me on my desk when I got to work this morning. A box that forced me to pack up my work life within it's cardboard frame and symbolized I'd be on my way out.

Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls when you least expect them.

With the box in my arms as I left the office this morning, a building acquaintance noticed I was walking out and said "Kendra, you're going the wrong way."

I looked up at the sun-filled sky and positively replied back "No. I'm going the right way."

I sincerely believe that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Not All Working Moms are Created Equal - A Liberating Working Moms Guest Post

Today I'm over at Liberating Working Moms talking about the difference between the moms who have to work and the moms who choose to work. It's no secret that I am proud to be a working mom but I have also admitted that I struggle with not having a choice and I struggle with not being passionate about the work I do day in and day out.

The point of this guest post was to inspire another working mom that feels stuck herself and to let her know if she is feeling down and out that she holds the power to make changes.

Do you work because you have to and not because you want to? You don't mind being a working mom but you feel stuck because you aren't passionate about your job or don't feel like you are on a fulfilling career path? Don't just "get through" each day anymore. It's time for you to feel as fulfilled and passionate about your work as you do about your family.

That is my mission this year. I'm going to make it happen because I want to be more than just a working mom going through the motions for a paycheck, I want to be on a career path. I want to say proudly that I work because I love what I do.

Who's with me?!?!?

Click here to read my full post.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The One Where I Decided to Stop Bending at Daycare Drop Off

(photo credit)
I wanted to share a moment of clarity that changed the course of my daycare drop off (DDO) experience dramatically. It was an ah-ha moment that made things easier and faster for me with two kids. I assume even if I was dropping off one child an ah-ha moment like this would still help incredibly so it could apply to anyone or even situations outside of daycare. You'll see what I mean...

When Baby D-Nut started attending daycare with big brother C, I was nervous for how I would handle drop off. I went back and forth in my head about who to get out of the car first! (Please tell me when you first had two kids you debated the same thing.... please?)

Once I figured that piece out I wondered which class I was going to stop off at first? On a whim I asked Little C if he wanted to help me get baby sis settled in her room and he jumped on the opportunity. I thought this would be good to give him a sense of pride and to help us get over the hurdles we were experiencing at the time.

And so it began... our new routine. Every morning, Monday - Friday, he'd "help" me with baby sis except what started as something sweet and cute to help my little man cope and that I was internally busting with pride over quickly became a pain in the arse!

If you are a "dropper-offer" yourself then you know how there is a small window of time from the moment you pull into the parking lot to the moment you peel out where you will not be late to work. It is a small window that if all goes according to plan I can enjoy my drive into the office without cursing at every slow-coaching driver or getting stressed and anxious at every red light. So in order to have an enjoyable drive I need to stick to my allotted DDO window.

Now back to our routine... You have to take shoes off before entering the baby room or cover them with "booties." No big deal for me but with a baby in her carseat, a bottle bag to carry and now a toddler who takes his sweet time to do anything, it was becoming cumbersome. Then once we were in the baby room I spent most of my time reminding the toddler to not jump on all the baby things, keep his voice down, don't take that toy from your sister, please don't touch all the babies faces, etc.

I didn't get much time to focus on my daughter and was spending all my time corralling the toddler. Then we'd have to battle to get his shoes back on as I could feel each minute sail by and my DDO window getting smaller and smaller. Then the battle began to get my son into his room. It was such a struggle until I came up with the idea to count to ten. We'd sit together right outside his room and we'd count to ten together knowing that once we hit "ten" he'd have to head on into class. Worked like a charm and life was good. Except this whole rigmarole took me for-ev-er and I was having unpleasant commutes to the office.

(photo credit)
I started to feel like something had to give. This routine was NOT working. I wasn't getting any one-on-one time with the baby and my toddler was stressing me out and he wasn't getting the best of me either! I had to ask myself why am I doing it this way? The answer was because I thought it was what my son wanted and I wanted to keep him happy. But at what expense??? My sanity???

I decided to stop bending right then and there. I started to think about what I wanted out of my morning. What was important to me, what was manageable and what all three of us could handle. I broke the routine we'd all become accustom to for no one else but me and it. felt. great.

The next morning as we drove to daycare I simply said, "hey buddy, today you can't help me with Baby Donut. You have to go straight into your class, okay?" This was met with a dramatic display of displeasure and it continued for the whole drive, the time in the parking lot, and into daycare. I stayed firm and didn't buckle even though we were in full on tantrum mode in front of others.

We sat outside his room like we always do. I calmed him down and sat with him on our bench with Baby D-Nut by our side and I told him I really wanted to take sister to her room by myself. I explained that I still wanted to count to ten with him and that after dropping off sis I would pop back into his room for a "super-special goodbye hug just for him."

He ate it up!

You guys!! It was gaming changing! I whisked Baby D-Nut into her room where it was quiet and peaceful as the baby room should be. I was able to visit with the teacher, get the bottles to their place, fill out the daily sheet, smooch my girl's perfect little cheeks as much as I wanted and get her set up for her little day. It was fast and simple and... wait for it.... ENJOYABLE!

Then true to my word I popped back in C's room as he was eating breakfast with his friends and he lit up to see me. I wrapped my arms around him told him I loved him and without any tears or tantrums he said "bye, mom!"

I had special time with each of my kids and was out the door in record time! But most of all, it was what I wanted. I wasn't bending, I was setting the tone, leading the pack, being the parent. Everyone adjusted just fine and we were all happy!

(credit)
My point here is if you are struggling with DDO yourself, or maybe some other routine you have that is cumbersome or stressful, ask yourself why? Why is it this way and is there something about it I have the power to change? How do I really want this to go and how can I make it happen? 

Even if you have a child that is very adverse to change or transitions, rocking the boat just enough to make things better down the line is so worth it. Plus a happy mama is a happy family, yes? As much as we take care of our children and bend like crazy to keep them happy there are times where our sanity and our happiness should be considered and even the #1 priority. I hope you recognize an area where you can do just that. Maybe it doesn't work and you have to keep trying new things until it does. Sometimes stress is a choice and we have the power and the ability to make choices to stop the nonsense!

What routine do you wish you could change? Is DDO stressful for you? Have you had any moments of clarity that helped you handle certain parenting situations?