December 21, 2011
This caught my eye on facebook:
Are You a Career Mom?
Are you a proud working mother? Do you believe that mothers can easily juggle careers and taking care of the kids? Are you a mom who really does it all? Do you think stay-at-home moms are judgmental of working moms? BE ON THE SHOW!
For those of you who know me, I’m not one who is afraid of being on a stage. I don’t need cocktails for karaoke. I always have a toast ready. I’ll always grab for the microphone. Presentations are a reason for buying a new outfit – no panic involved. Life is one big sit-com starring . . . ME!
So I entered and here is my response:
Please get me on stage with any working mom who believes that careers and family are something done “easily” and that they “do it all” without letting something else slide. Current example: I have a 3 week old naked Christmas tree in my living room and have decided to tell my kids that we are now Norwegian so we can start a “tradition” of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve because it gives me extra days of NOT hearing “When are we going to decorate the tree?” when I walk in the door. I have also told my dean that if my marriage makes it through my master’s degree that I’d like my husband to hand it to me as I walk across the stage since he is the one who is giving it to me. My house is cleaned by others, my kids often eat hot dogs for dinner, and my husband has an eternal kitchen pass to go out at any time without any questions or curfews. As for stay-at-home moms, I am OK with those who judge. I tried that route for 2 1/2 years and found that I am a MUCH better mom, wife, person if I am working outside the home. I often wish I could go to Starbucks, yoga, grocery store at 1:00 pm on a weekday afternoon, but like I tell my kids, it’s all about choices. Make good choices and good things happen, make bad choices and bad things happen. At the end of the working day, moms can only hope that the choices we make will help our kids become well-adjusted humans who find jobs straight out of school, and don’t blame us too much in their future therapy appointments.
November 11, 2011
I advocate for High Heel Fridays instead of Casual Fridays. It is the best day of the week to look extra smart especially when others in your firm choose to look extra schlumpy. I strongly believe in the adage that you dress for the job you want, so it amazes me that most legal professionals dress as teenage Dairy Queen workers on Fridays.
For paralegals, High Heel Fridays are a great time to dress for success, not only with your clothing but also with your confidence. Picture yourself strolling into your partner’s office next Friday as a perfectly polished professional paralegal in your pretty pumps while they are primped in a preppy pink polo and pressed jeans. Your confidence will enter the room before you do!
Here are some suggestions for how to make the most out of your High Heel Friday:
Highlight your Skills – As paralegals, we need to be our own Business Development Managers. It is our responsibility to continually “sell” our knowledge and skills to our firm. Just because you got the job, made your hours this year, and/or have been with a firm since Christ was born, does not give you an excuse to rest on your laurels. How many of your partners and associates know your educational background and/or legal experience?!? Chances are that you know theirs and if you don’t, it is easily accessible on your firm’s website. Take some time on High Heel Friday to let them know about yours. Meet with your paralegal manager, office manager, practice group coordinator, partner, etc. to let them know about your background and skills. The most important thing to tell them is specifically how you want to use your experience to better the firm. “Did you know that I speak 5 languages, including Creole French?!? I would love to assist the firm’s pro bono efforts in Haiti. Can you put me in touch with the partner on that project?”
Have a Heart-to-Heart – While you are talking to your manager about how fabulous you are, why don’t you use the time to ask them how fabulous they think you are?! Many firms are notorious for having a decentralized management structure and what that means for paralegals is that the annual review process is nearly non-existent or nonsensical. Use High Heel Friday to have a heart-to-heart with your manager about your past, current and future performance. Again, bring specific items you would like to address like cross-training and educational opportunities. “I know that I am a Corporate Securities workhorse, but I would really love to take a course in Legal Project Management. Do you think the firm would pay for it?”
Happy Hour – Use your High Heel Friday confidence to expand your network within and outside of your firm. Introduce yourself to the new receptionist, assistant, associate, partner (don’t forget to “sell” your skills!). Meet a former colleague or supervisor out for coffee. Ask a potential mentor for lunch. Attend the firm’s Happy Hour (2 cocktail maximum). With High Heel Friday, you will shine in any meeting scenario!
Please use the comments section to let me know how you plan to use High Heel Friday to advance your professional paralegal career. At a minimum, it gives you an excuse to go shoe shopping . . .
September 16, 2011
To My Dudez,
September 6th came quickly this year! We’ve had quite a whirlwind summer with moving to a new home, meeting new friends, and now going to a new school. This is your 3rd elementary school in the same school district in the past 5 years. I guarantee that by the time you hit middle school, you will be the coolest kidz around because you will know everyone. Never to young to network!
This year is also new because Daddy will be picking you up from the bus stop. Daddy will be helping you with homework. Daddy will be getting you snacks. Daddy will be taking you to baseball, football, hip hop, cello, basketball practices. Daddy will be cooking dinner for you (by taking you to Quiznos). Daddy will attend Open Houses, Back-to-School night, PTA meetings, Diversity Night, Bingo, Strings concerts, and Parent-Teacher conferences. Daddy will go on field trips and work Kiss N’ Ride in the mornings. Mommy will . . . be jealous of Daddy.
I want you to know how much I wish I could be there for all of the fun things you will be doing with Daddy. I always hoped that I could schedule my work to greet you at the bus stop, but life sometimes doesn’t work out the way you plan, and that is OK. Mommy needs to work late. Mommy needs to go to class at night. Mommy needs to teach evening classes. Mommy needs to go to networking events with strangers. Mommy needs to travel to conferences. Mommy needs to study till 1:00 am.
You both are already brilliant in reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, so here is what I want you to learn this year: You have a terrific Daddy. The most that I can hope for when you grow up is that you are as wonderful of a husband and father to your wife and kids as your Daddy is to our family.
I promise that I will make most of your games and concerts, some of your practices, few of your school events, and maybe one of your field trips this year. Don’t worry though because Daddy will be there for all of them.
PS – MAMA SAXA to my MOM CONGRESS PEEPS! Join Parenting’s Mom Congress on Education and Learning on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/momcongress to connect with parents around the country who are standing up for great schools. Want to make your school great right NOW? Enter the Mom Congress School Transformation Grant contest to win $20,000 for your school.
February 4, 2011
I hit the driveway at 10:20pm. Another day at work filled with meeting after meeting, email after email, call after call. No room for lunch but felt lucky for the TLC granola bars stuffed in my desk. No room for dinner but hoped that my Extra gum, Strawberry Shortcake flavored (yes, I am a fan of “The Biggest Loser”) would provide me with enough caloric goodness to get me through four hours of evening graduate class lectures.
Brain drained and stomach shriveled, I stumbled through the front door, peeled off any outward evidence of work, and headed straight for the pantry. There I reached for the working mothers dinner of champions . . . cereal. A big bowl full of frosted shredded wheaty milky goodness guaranteed to quickly fill me up with a bit more nutrition than the second place dinner of working moms – a pint of chocolate ice cream (with nutella and pretzels coming a very close third).
This night I felt that I needed a little something extra to wash down my gourmet meal. Orange juice? Too predictable. Juice box? Too juvenile. I opened the fridge for more inspiration and there was the answer to my dilemma – a half full (optimist!) chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Kim Crawford 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, to be exact. I’m no wine expert, (heck, the first time I ordered this wine was with a petit filet mignon and my oenophiliac gal pals gave me a look like I was a complete moron) but I LOVE this wine. It smells and tastes like mangoes crossed with grapefruit. That evening it was like fresh fruit on top of my sumptuous supper selection.
Like all great carb filled meals, I was instantly sleepy after finishing my dinner around 11:12 pm. I stumbled to bed before midnight and drifted off into an alcoholic/breakfast food combo coma with a big happy grin on my face. Sweet dreams, Momosas!
January 27, 2011
Today is my favorite Momosa holiday – Hausfrau Day (Babushka Optional)! Every January in the DC area, there is a 100% chance that I get to celebrate Hausfrau Day via a snow day. Now that my boyz are old enough to get their own snacks without burning our house down, I get to choose the pace of this magical day. No more nap trap (first down at 10am-wakes up at 12pm, second down at 12pm – wakes up at 2pm, first back down at 2pm-4pm – trapped at home from 10am-4pm), no more pleas of “entertain me Disney-style,” no more potty training accidents on my new carpet. This is Mommy’s time to plan.
First off, for Hausfrau Day I get to wear whatever I want which does NOT include lined slacks and pizza slice toe shoes. Today I chose pink cotton pajama pants, red fluffy slippers, glitter hairclip, and black “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” t-shirt. My ensemble is comfortable, colorful, has some bling, but showcases a modern edgy twist. I describe my work fashion sense in the same way, only I wouldn’t be caught dead out of the house in this “statement.”
Due to my traditional Hausfrau Day costume, I have a limited geographic area to explore, so therefore, I choose to stay in my own den today. Instead of viewing Excel documents and composing emails, I am viewing Millionaire Matchmaker and composing facebook wallposts. Macaroni and cheese lunch prepared by an 8 and 3/4 yr old tastes a million times better than any masterpiece made by a sandwich ‘artist’ from Subway.
The best part of Hausfrau Day will happen around 3pm when I succumb to the afternoon sleepyz and hit the couch for a Celebratory Nap. Don’t wave a cup of coffee near me in case I get caffeine poisoning that could disturb my slumber. This Sleeping Beauty needs a slobbery dog kiss or the melodic sounds of brother-on-brother violence to awake.
Unfortunately, Hausfrau Day ends around 5pm because that is when the guilt starts to outweigh the enjoyment. It also coincidentally is the same time that Oprah ends . . . At 5pm I will race around the house, stuffing items in the dishwasher and washing machine, throw on a pair of jeans, cardigan and ballet flats, and shove a casserole in the oven so that when hubby comes home all evidence of Hausfrau Day are tucked away.
Hausfrau Day is a secret holiday that I will only share with other Momosas. So, when it is your turn, I wish you a merry version of your own Hausfrau Day (Babushka Optional) to you!
January 14, 2011
It was one of those mornings that every working mom has experienced. It started with immense joy (pun intended) that my fat pants “finally” fit after the holidays. It continued with panicked surprise when I couldn’t find my car keys 30 seconds before we walked out the door for school. It reached its pinnacle when I was stricken with a back spasm after attempting sarcastic laughter at my first voicemail of the day which came from the school nurse letting me know that my youngest poked himself in the eye with a colored pencil, but “they would not require me to come pick him up.”
On mornings like this when I want to pack it up and head home for a well-deserved cocktail, nap and trip to the nail salon, I feel blessed that I can turn to my job to bring me joy, surprises, and laughter (no pun intended here – I love my job). Most recently my joy comes from work on the 2011 Mom Congress Education and Learning conference, an initiative by Parenting Magazine, along with Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies as their educational provider, which celebrates and connects moms fighting for better schools. On this day, I had an amazing conference call with a Georgetown University faculty member who will provide their research and expertise on the topic of Early Childhood Education. I was then wonderfully surprised by emails from other faculty and staff at the University excited about participating in Mom Congress. As one faculty member noted, Mom Congress is “such an ambitious and constructive endeavor.” I completely agree and welcome the opportunity to add my voice to the mom advocate’s leading the charge for better schools.
After starting the day on a sour note, then turning it around with fulfilling projects, I did end this work day laughing. I found myself still in the office after 8:00 pm along with another working mom. We decided to amuse each other by blasting our laptop speakers with NSFW music. Her choice was Amy Winehouse, “Rehab”. My choice was Def Leppard, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. Oh, how I truly love my sweet job!
April 30, 2010
It’s 11:20 pm and I really need to go to bed. I am typing softly because sacked out on the couch next to me are my husband and puppy. Just testing out my new power as a superblogger, but really I’d rather just go to bed already. . .