A working mom with a twist

In keeping with last week’s theme of friends named Krista, Julia’s friend from high school and university, Krista Pelton, joins us a guest blogger. It’s her first time with the Sisterhood and we’re so glad she’s here! 

I am a working mom.

I went back to work when my son was 14-months old, part-time, and it slowly progressed to full-time. I worked when my husband was not working, mostly, and friends and family watched my son.

Then, it became hard when my son turned 3 and no longer napped. I could no longer work from home in the afternoons. My little bubble burst.

So, our solution? It was not full-time daycare. It was Daddy-took-a-leave-of-absence-from-work. One that extended until junior kindergarten starts this fall.

Aleksandr Ryzhov/Shutterstock

Aleksandr Ryzhov/Shutterstock

When junior kindergarten starts this fall, my husband will have been away from his job for 22 months. So I could pursue my career without any barriers. He had a job and I had a career. There is a huge difference. The pursuit of my career path far outweighed the job.

After almost 22 months it is still the best decision we have made. Besides getting married and having our son. I wake up and go. I worry about myself and no one else every morning. I don’t feel guilty or stressed out. I get to be 100% present working and when I come home I can be 100% present.

I leave the rest to my husband who has picked up the duty of stay-at-home dad like a pro. He is the one that potty-trained him in two days. Even through the night. True story.

Sure, eventually he is going back to work but until our son settles into school it won’t happen. These last 22 months have been extremely rewarding to see my son and husband become so close. Their routine and bond is something only a father/son can understand and I am thankful I had my 22 months and my husband had his 22 months fair and square.

I can’t speak much to being a working mother because I have the fortunate backing of a stay-at-home dad. I don’t have crazy daycare challenges, rushing around and worrying about who’s getting our son every night, or worrying about how much time I get to see him in a day. He wakes up when he is ready, has a great day with his dad and dog and then I come home to a smiling, happy boy.

It was an unconventional decision, although it’s becoming more common in today’s society.

We simply don’t like chaos. We didn’t even like the thought of being stressed out. We did it because it made sense to us at the time and it still rings true today. It’s only money after all, but being 3 and 4? Money can’t buy that.

~ Krista Pelton

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Advertisements

Wonderful world of work

So there a couple things you should be 100% aware of when it comes to me… I am not normal. Working in an office environment is not normal for me.

This is so more me.

This is so more me. (Photo credit to UCS and their photo of their studio, which makes me miss college and the studio that I got to use there.)

I have never worked in a normal office environment, and I never thought I would ever be working in a cubicle, let alone being excited about it. I am more the type to have weird, in-between jobs that you never even thought someone would have, and I have had quite a few of those…

Have you ever heard of someone working in a turkey farm? Or know of anyone putting away books at the wee hours of the morning?

No? Of course not. Because no sane person decided that they would deal with turkeys, or put away heavy books at warp speed (or as fast as humanly possible) at 5 a.m. Besides the point of this post though, this is about my job now.

This is the most normal job I have ever had. I work roughly 8 hours a day. I come into work, use a punch clock and then punch out when I leave. I have never had a job like this, and although I have never seen myself in this kind of job, there is one thing I love about this job.

The people are AWESOME.

All of them are so unique, and I have made so many new friends that I can hardly count them all. Even my supervisors are awesome and very helpful people and my manager is really funny and nice.

Now, I haven’t told a lot of people at work about our blog at all, so I am so not trying to butter them up through this. It is just nice to be able to like the people you work with and work for. I have found some really good friends in my colleagues while I have been here, and although I am not going to mention any names, they know who they are and they know (from me telling them on a constant basis) how truly awesome and sweet they are.

They make it easier to come into work on my bad brain days because I know I will smile at least once from something ridiculous someone says or does, or that I say or do, and at work I am one of the more random people.

I am truly blessed to not only have a job but have a job where I actually get along with and like the people.

I know this is just a temporary position, but for the time being I have a found a place in the company full of awesome people, and that works just fine for me.

~ Andreah

Take a chance on me!

You know what I want more of?

Chances.

I got an interview a couple months back and the way I got it was because I asked for a chance and although I didn’t get it, I knew I would have rocked that job because of that chance. Because in all honesty I don’t have very many credentials, I don’t have tons of experience. I am what some companies would call ‘a risk.’

That being said, I am now employed!

I have a good job. I have a job that is new, and something I have never experienced. I have a job that pays better than I have ever had, and a job that I think I may actually enjoy. It is an office job, and it is so far, so good.

They took a chance on me, and I have to thank them for that.

I have been in training, and flip flopping between knowing my stuff, and completely blanking on what I am supposed to do, but I know with some time I can get it, and I can do it.

That being said I am being thrown on my own tomorrow. I am going to go into work, sit down at my own desk (I HAVE A CUBICLE), and do my job.

MY CUBICLE!

MY CUBICLE!

I am so terrified I may mess something up, but I have been assured again and again that they all started out this way, that they all were a little hesitant at first, and had no clue what they were doing. I barely believe it, but I get that it is only my 9th day, and my first day on my own, and that I will make mistakes. I will mess up, but I also know that I can rectify those mistakes. I can make what I do count, and I can do my job to the BEST of my abilities, I just need to take the chance.

-Andreah

Engaged and looking

I thought when you met your life-partner, ‘penguin’, and live-in best friend, the frustration of dating, and especially the nerves of the first date, would be a thing of the past.

I should preface this by telling you that I was never great at dating – Michael can attest to all of my rookie mistakes when we were first seeing each other *hangs head in shame* –  so I was kind of relieved when he decided to keep me for life and asked me to marry him. I thought the days of first dates were over – after all I had earned this perk as sort of a rite of passage for being taken off the market.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Apparently, first dates also still exist for those who have shacked up. They’ve cleverly disguised themselves as job interviews – first, second and third ones – and include all the butterflies and nerves, the fleeting hope for a match made in heaven, the self-talk track to keep calm and confident in what you have to offer, the anticipation for the follow-up call or email in the days following – it’s all just a guise for a first date.

Even worse, interviews carry the same chance for disappointment as a flopped first date – the realization that he’s not your type, or the looks-good-on-paper but not so much in real life kind of first dates come with the territory. It includes the no chemistry matches, the mixed signals from one person being over zealous, the dashed hope and even the discouraging realization that you might be looking for a unicorn that just doesn’t exist.

While I am currently acting as nanny to three beautiful babies, I have also been actively dating a few new prospects for employment. Each time, the determination to find my match rallies the best parts of me to come shining through almost on cue – I’m charming and smart, quick-witted and friendly. I reach deep into myself to bring forward my inner sales person and I give it my all, every time, in the hopes of a possible long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Sometimes this attracts unwanted offers, sometimes it means my qualifications are out of their league, and sometimes I’m just not enough to make the final cut.

While I’m still looking for my fairy tale-ending in terms of gainful employment, I’m starting to understand what people mean when they say, interviewing is a valuable skill.

I’m learning quickly who I’d like to have dinner with, past or present, dead or alive; I know my top three weaknesses and strengths like the back of my hand; if I get asked what animal I’d most likely akin to, I know the answer that takes the edge off is a tiger because my name is Toni – which depending on chemistry I can say with a wink; running through my career path from school to present day is like recalling a well-read tale, with which I take care to highlight different parts depending on the role I’ve applied for. I have a proven set of favourite and creative questions to ask when I’m given the opportunity to screen my candidate to help decide if I’d be satisfied long-term, having this stranger hold stake over the majority of my time. Most importantly, I know how to break through and get my possible match to relate to me as a person, to find common ground quickly and figure out a few of their triggers.

Just this past week I nervously met with a candidate that I had been hoping to hear from – the organization, product and team structure all interest me and the role is exactly the pieces I’ve loved about each of my previous ones. When I left I felt comfortable and confident and now am dangerously flirting with the hope of a follow-up request to meet again. The second interview is more my pace, where I feel a bit more in control and am a little more sure of how they’re feeling about me. It will be the date that tells me if I’m all in or not.

In the meantime, wish me luck – I’ve got some research to do for my next first date.

~ Toni

Happiness and histories

I’ve been thinking a lot about history. There have been empires that have risen and fallen in all our years on this planet. Wars raged, places discovered, and countless loves found and lost. We all have our own history as well. We have our own way of looking at things. What we see and what we think is 100% unique to ourselves. And in my opinion, I think that no one remembers that fact.

No one recalls that our moods, our experiences, and everything in our own personal lives, including our own lessons and attitudes, are pushing us through the world. I often forget this point myself and end up thinking that the customers I deal with sometimes, when they are being in no way polite, are just horrible people. The one thing I always forget is that they are probably going through a lot of stuff, and if the most simple things, like a card reader error, can ruin their day, that I shouldn’t be upset at them. I shouldn’t hate them for the one minute I am in contact with them. I should remember to be just a little bit more understanding.

I work at a gas station right now, and see people from so many different lives enter through those two sliding doors into my workplace. Sometimes they are so rude and coarse and rough. Sometimes they are as sweet as honey in your chamomile tea. I am standing behind a register, ringing up your gas purchase, your lottery, your candy, and I am doing my best to smile for you. To make sure that when you come into that particular gas station you have as easy a transaction as possible, while still doing my job. I am pleasant and welcoming for each new customer. I too have a lot going on constantly, and I want them to understand and be polite, like I try to be with them no matter what catastrophe I may be dealing with in my life. However, wanting them to act how I see fit doesn’t ever work, because it all comes down to history.

We interact with people on a daily basis who are trying to move the mountains in their lives, trying to forge a better future, out of their various histories. We are all living in one confined planet. We are all trying to get around! We are all trying to live for us, our families and our friends.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

There is a woman who comes in to get gas. She has two grown children and always wears a smile, even though she has a lot on her plate, with her own business and bills, and yet she still is smiling.

There is a man who can barely walk on rainy days and yet he drives his friends around, because they were there for him and saved him in the war, so he does the driving now. He is in pain probably more than half the time I see him, but he still wears a smile for me.

There is a student who doesn’t know what she wants to do in her life, but she is working towards a degree in economics so she will get a good job and be able to take care of her mom one day, because her mom gave her everything she never got in life. She gets really frustrated because the card reader doesn’t like her card on the first few tries, especially at me when I first met her, but now she smiles because I took my time with her and her card.

There is an angry man who won’t talk or look you in the eye, and if you question him he will scream at you, no matter who is in the store, but get him on his good day and his smile is actually quite nice and his eyes can look quite kind.

There is a little girl whose mom gives her a weekly allowance for doing chores. She saved up the allowance so she could pay for her mom’s gas and two movie tickets, because she wanted to have a mommy-daughter date with her mommy who works too hard. She paid me all in change, but I still smiled and couldn’t stop for the rest of my shift even as I counted all those coins.

The people I see every day have vast, amazing histories and wonderfully complex lives and thoughts. They see me for maybe 10 minutes tops in their entire day or week, and all I can do is try and smile, and to make this one thing in their soon-to-be histories at least pleasant, if not happy.

I just want everyone to be happy and spread the happy. It’s not easy, ever, to let the little, stupid, nagging things go. It is harder than diamonds to actually carry out those three little words in our day-to-day lives: let it go.

Exasperated one morning, after a falling out with someone, I was visiting Joe’s aunts. I was obsessing as I sometimes, okay, usually do, and Aunt Brenda just looked at me and said, “Let it go! Get over it!”

I honestly just started laughing. Because it is so simple. Just let it go. Let go of the stupid little things, let go of the tough bad huge things. Yes, work through it, but when you are out in the world, let it go. Be happy! Smile, even when everyone is bugging the piss out of you!

So yes, even though our histories are long and stretched out, varied and eclectic, we are all together. We all have the hard days and stupid exhausting moments of frustration, especially when someone or something gets under your skin. And everyone has days when nothing, no matter what you try or do, makes things better, but I just want you to remember one thing if that stupid day for you is today: I want, no, need, for you to be happy. Because it is a great, big, beautiful world full of great, big, amazing moments, and this one will pass. You will feel and be completely different tomorrow. We are never the same people in each and every passing moment. Change is inevitable. I want to give you this moment for happiness, your happiness. I want you to let it go, and just delight in the fact that in this moment, you can smile and turn it all around.

Be happy! Keep smiling!Happiness

~ Andreah