When Working Moms get Laid Off

My position was eliminated last week due to restructuring and hiring lower level people to do the work.  I have been off work a week and am still trying to figure out what to do.  I know that I should be looking for an other job/career and I have signed up for many different job aggregators to send me lists of open positions in my field.  I feel that is a start, but it truly doesn’t mean anything unless you have a resume ready to send out. 

My old resume is 13 years old, which means I pretty much need to start over and just list my last company since I was there for 13 years and you don’t need to go back more than 10 years on a resume. I was a recruiter who looked at resumes all day long, yet when it comes to creating my own I have writer’s block. I even have a copy of my job description family to use a guide and rephrase the bullets on my resume. The problem is still that I just don’t feel like doing it. The other problem is that I just don’t know what else to do with my time in between looking or not looking for another job.  I am clearly not cut out to be a stay at home mom and we do eventually need for me to go back to work to make the family budget.

So far I have gone on some walks and played on the internet for hours.  Yes, I am addicted to Candy Crush as well. I tried picking the kids up from school, but the pick up line is ridiculous and the kids can be halfway home by walking by the time I get tot the front of the line. I have walked to school and walked home with them which is nice as well. When we get home the kids go straight to homework, then play on electronics.  One child likes to play cards with me, but the other only wants electronic games. The house is still cleaned by the housecleaner, so I don’t have to do that 3 hour chore once a week. I still do grocery shopping once a week which I can move to a weekday.  I did this yesterday and it took way longer than normal just because I didn’t have anything else to do for the day.  I don’t have any hobbies other than drinking wine with family and friends, but I don’t want to get in the habit of doing that mid-day. Laundry is still done at the same time when I worked.  I do a load of laundry almost every day, so I am always up to date anyways. The whole family is responsible for helping put laundry away and I don’t want to take that away from them just because I am at home.  The kids are still part of the family and need to have some responsibility in contributing to the household chores. Dinner doesn’t take longer to make just because I am unemployed.  It is still started at 5:30 and ready between 6:00 and 6:30. I love to cook and hoped that the family could have special requests for dinner, but they don’t care at all. 

Hopefully, I will eventually be motivated to do my resume so I can fill my days with interviews.  For now I am filling my days with some walks and lots of computer time. I admit that I am bored and this will get old very soon.

 

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Celebrity Look Alike

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For years, and I mean at least 25+ years, people have come up to me and say that I look like someone they know.  My face is so familiar to them.  These people are women around my age that are also a product of sitcom in the 80’s.  “Excuse me, Is your name Mindy?”  My answer is always no, but I know exactly what they are talking about.  People think I look like and/or am Mindy Cohn or Natalie from The Facts of Life.  I do see the resemblance myself and it can be scary that I look more like her than I do my own sister.  She was my favorite character on the show as well because I could relate to her and her sense of humor.

How people approach me is kind of funny. They are never rude and many start off by saying they were put up to it by their girlfriends who had been debating for a while now whether it is Mindy or not.  Once I had a guy that knows me by name ask me.  His response was that he was put up to asking since he knows me.  He thought maybe I changed my name at some point.

Yesterday, a woman at the concert in the park approached me because I look so familiar to her.  Again, “Is your name Mindy?”  The funny part was that she admitted taking over 20 pictures of me and was googling Mindy Cohn on her phone to compare.  She then said something like you know that some famous people don’t look as good without make up and they thought maybe I was Mindy without make up.  While this is funny.  It sucks to be me as I was wearing make up and must still look like crap.

I really need to come up with a better and witty come back for these times.  I should also play along and charge people to take a picture with me.

I know she is not a popular celebrity anymore, but I would still love to meet her and get a picture with her.  I wonder if she knows she has a look alike out there and it is me.   What would people say to me if I tell them I am Mindy?  How much fun could I have to screw with other people’s minds?

Going to the Beach…Is it worth the trip?

I live in Sunny Southern California, North Orange County to be exact and I have always loved going to the beach.  Today was 95 degrees at  home in my Anaheim Hills backyard that has a pool.  I thought it was too hot to stay home and wanted something more than laying in the non-heated pool all day.  To be fair, the pool is probably about 70 degrees and the spa can be any temperature I want it to be above that. I knew going to the beach would be a 30 minutes commute and would be 15-20 degrees less.  The plus side about the beach is there are no distractions and the beach I go to does not have internet reception either.

As my family arrived at Corona Del Mar we unpacked our car and headed out to find a spot close to the water.  Being that is was such a hot day, everyone and their mother was at the beach.  Literally, it is Mother’s Day and we were all there. It was crowded and almost had no personal space between beach towels, seaweed, and other people.  But we were at the beach, so how bad can it really be?

The weather at the beach was overcast yet still warm enough that you had to go in the water to get cooled off.  My first thought is why did I leave my backyard to go to the beach and go in the 63 degree water?  I think it is so funny that I will not go in my pool at home when the water is less than 80 degrees, but at the beach the water never gets warmer than 68 degrees and I go in.  Why do I feel it is less disgusting to go in the ocean to take care of number 1 rather than go use the public restrooms way up across the sand? 

Three hours of uninterrupted family time and the inability to check Facebook was great.  The people watching is wonderful and it is so easy to listen to other’s conversations which I thoroughly enjoy.  This time nobody had music playing, so it was us, nature, and 1000+ other beach goers.  It is also fun to see what bathing suits people think it is acceptable to wear and how confident they must be with their bodies to wear something so skimpy where their ass is completely hanging out. Who can resist watching the little kids build sand castles and burying themselves in the sand? 

When it is time to go home, it takes 30 minutes to pack up, rinse off all the sand, and get back in the car for the 30 minute ride home.  Once you are home, you have to take another shower and put away the beach gear. It seems like a lot of work.  The reality is that if I stayed home in the backyard I would have had to clean the backyard and the pool and it is Mother’s Day after all.  Going to the beach is just a nice way to do something different and get away from it all.

For as much work as it is to have a pleasant day out at the beach is it worth it?  Do other people not go in their pool water when it is less than 80, yet think nothing of going in the 63 degree ocean water? 

 

When all is said and done, the uninterrupted family time and a chance to get a little color is always worth it to me.  A change of scenery and a day out of the norm is a good day out.

You’re Never Too Old to Make Good Friendships

It is funny how friendships change as we grow older. Growing up and through college I wanted friends that were at similar stages in life like me. I wanted friends that were my age and had little drama. After college came challenging years where I hung on to school friendships and then people start moving away and getting married. After I was married and my children had not entered school yet, my dream was to have friends close by where the husband and wife were still together, had children in the same age range as mine, and where my husband and I liked the other couple and not just the wife. This was a true struggle for a few years, but then the turning point hit when my kids started school.

As the kids were old enough to be in scouts and start playing sports, we have had the opportunity to make that dream of mine come true. We have met some of the best families through sports and scouts. I have to admit that it is easy to make friends when you have a pool and like hosting social gatherings. One invitation can lead to a lifetime of friendship.

It is wonderful to make new friends at middle age although I hate to admit we are in that range. At this stage of our lives, the friends we make are not pretentious, but are gracios and truly happy to accept the invitations especially when they don’t have to get a babysitter. It is so ideal when the kids hang out and the parents hang out and all get along. Also, the adults recognize what it takes to have someone over and all offer to bring something. We have had many gatherings where families bring appetizers, drinks, and more than enough side dishes or other food. We also recognize that we are all busy, nothing is perfect and the chance to relax with friends stress-free is golden. Because we are so busy some of the best times have been with last minute invites like one we were invited to at 9:00 am the day of the get together.

We have made the best friends through cub scouts due to the many family activities involved. Sports friends are easy to make as well by just going out for pizza after the game. The best part of the friends we have is that the invitations are not one way. If you get invited to someone’s home it is great to reciprocate and I think some people don’t get that part. Reciprocation can be in the form of an outing or time at the park, but it does not have to be in your home only.

It continues to be a wonderful journey in life when you open your home, open your heart, and reach out to new people. You never know when people may move away so you need to continue to make new friends every year. It is work that is well worth the payoff.

The Girl Scouts could not have said it better than in the first song we learned in scouting:

Make new friends and keep the old,

One is silver and the other is gold.

What new friendships are you working on?

Going through life with the right partner.

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My husband is a good man, husband, and father.  There is no gaurantee in life that when you get married you are making the right choice. Today is my 16th wedding anniversary and I am proud that I made the right choice.

In addition to marrying Kevin, I married into a wonderful family who shares the same values as me and are just great people to be around. Although Kevin’s family and siblings are at a different stage in life than Kevin and I , they have been so wonderful and have shared great advice and experiences with us.  I think they drink more when I am around, but I don’t think it is because of me.

Things I love about my husband:

  • He is very laid back
  • He is not high maintenance
  • He makes a great Cabana Boy and is a master mixologist
  • He makes wonderful cocktails for me and always knows the right time that I need one. 
  • He is a great father to our two children
  • He is wonderul at playing games with the kids and me
  • He knows lots of random trivia
  • He will watch my shows with me if I ask even if it is a silly comedy
  • He has a good sense of humor and is very sarcastic
  • He supports me when I need to get out of the house and get away
  • He is a full time partner in chores around the house and taking care of the kids
  • He makes stuff up quite frequently that can be funny and annoying at the same time
  • He enjoys cooking and trying new recipes with me
  • We make great traveling partners and have had the opportunity to see and do quite a bit before having kids.  Actually, we have gone on some very nice vacations with the kids too.
  • He supports me and my activities and interests in so many ways
  • He is active in the kid’s activities and supports their interests

There are so many things to be thankful for.  Today I am thankful for my husband.

 

 

Preparing for Summer is Such a Chore

Spring break is over and it is now time to focus on Summer.  One of the things I loathe is planning my summer.  Summer is supposed to be fun in the sun and a time to relax by the pool.  Unfortunately I work and my big task now is planning summer day camps for my kids.  I cringe at how much money we spend on summer camps and childcare.  Because I work full time, my kids cannot be at home with me while I work from home.  One , they are too noisy and two, they would hurt each other severly after 9:30 am when my daughter wakes up. 

My big dilemna is where to send the kids to camp and not spend a fortune in the meantime.  It is okay for them to have the downtime and complain about being bored with nothing to do (except for every board game on earth, the swimming pool, watching tv, playing video games, and some reading).

I struggle with where to send 2 kids to day camp and how to get them there and pick them up.  I don’t understand how so many day camps are from 9:00 to 12:00 and cost over $200 for 3 hours a day for 5 days a week?  These camps are obviously not for working parents.  What do you do with the other 5 hours of the work day that childcare needs to be covered?  Do you pay for them to go to another camp?  I don’t.

Coming up with a good mix of camps that they will enjoy and possibly have other friends at is a full time job.  I also have weeks where one is a Girl Scout Day Camp from 8:30 to 3:00 one week and I need to figure out what to do with my son while trying to avoid driving across town.  My son will be attending one week of overnight Boy Scout Camp and we have decided to send my daughter to overnight Girl Scout camp for a week.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out to send them both away the same week.  That means 3 of the 10 summer weeks are not available for family vacation due to some camps.  There is a two week day camp with hours from 10:00 to 4:00 in August that they will be on the wait list for.  We do have a good City of Anaheim day camp that I love to send them to in early summer because it is cheap and outdoors.  It is at a park and only $110 per camper which includes the extended hours of 7:00 to 6:00. They have a small non-airconditioned room the kids use at the end of the day and at least they know each other plus get to go on one field trip. I don’t feel that I can send the kids there in August as it is just too hot to be outdoors all day.

I would love to send them to some art camps that are through the city and cover afternoon hours.  I am surprised at how many camps are from 9-noon. Don’t these kids sleep in?  I have one that will sleep until 9:30 and one that is up at 7:00am but is occupied by the tv for hours while his sister sleeps.  If I am lucky maybe I can find something from 1:00 to 5:00 and can find a dad that could watch them for a couple hours in the morning then take them to camp after feeding them lunch.

The school district tries very hard to provide a good summer program with an outing a week, but my kid’s friends don’t go to this camp and my son thinks it is a bit boring now.  It is fine for afterschool, but gets old for 8 hours a day all summer.  During the school year my childcare costs have gone down to $400 a month total, but in the summer the camps can be anywhere from $110 to $200 a week per child which does not include the sleep away camps. 

In addition to this I need to plan our summer vacation of where to go, what to do, how to get there and where to stay all trying to stay within a budget.  My daughter told me that she really doesn’t care where we go on vacation as long as we have fun.  To a 9 year old, just staying somewhere else is fun. She does have a great point and I am learning from her perspective.

What do other full time working moms do with their kids during the summer months off?  How long does it take you to figure out this master plan called summer fun?

Should Kids be Challenged in School or Is it Okay to Just Get Good Grades?

I have always thought my kids went to a good school. They have an active PTA that does a lot for the school and provides extra programs for the kids that keeps them engaged.  I am starting to wonder how great the school is when the classroom numbers are so high (39 or 40 per class) and they employ teachers that don’t challenge the kids.

I met with my daughter’s teacher, principal, psychologist, and other teacher this week as I was concerned about my daughter not paying attention in class.  She is medicated for ADHD and it makes a world of difference. Thankfully, she is smart, but does have some behavioral issues at times at home.  She has told me many times that she does her homework in class while the teacher is teaching the lesson and that she doesn’t pay attention during some subjects.  The bottom line is that she is smart and gets good grades so they don’t really care what she does in class because she is not disrupting other children.  She is too smart to sit in the front row where she would need to pay atttention because there are other kids that behavior and/or learning issues that need to be there.  The education professionals in that room told me that they don’t care what activities she is doing in class as long as she is still getting good grades and not disturbing others.  While I am educated and understand that principal, is it okay to still be disappointed that she is in a class where she is not challenged?  Is it okay to only teach to the tests and nothing above?  I am sure I should be more grateful that she does well with minimal effort and no, I do not think she is a superstar or better than most kids. 

While my daughter has never been excited about school or engaged in school, I have had the complete opposite experience with my son at the same school. I know that each child is different and they both learn differently, but every teacher my son has had challenges the students.  I know he has the best teacher at the school this year, but all his previous teachers have been great as well. My daughter has not had any of the same teachers.  This year he has been challenged and encouraged to think creatively with writing, reading, and science.  There have been many collaborative learning opportunities that the whole class was excited about.  The same week that I had the meeting for my daughter, my son had a group science experiment day where the kids were encouraged to work together in small groups and build Rube Goldberg displays and created contraptions that would keep an egg from breaking when falling from ceiling height.

I think kids do better when they are challenged and are engaged in the learning lesson. In the adult world so many of us learn from doing.  We have all been through training at work, but the real learning is from hands on practice and doing it.  It is too bad not all classrooms and teachers are created equal. 

Are your children’s teacher teaching to the tests?  Are they teaching so that your kids get good grades?  Or are they challenging your child and making learning fun for the kids?  Does is matter that the kids get good grades, but are not challenged or engaged at school?